Time management 101 for uni first-timers

February 15, 2016
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University feels overwhelming for anyone, and after time away from school it can feel like your rhythm is simply off when it comes to juggling your commitments. Perhaps you have a casual, part-time or full-time job, or partake in particular hobbies or social gatherings. Additionally, your travel time may be something of an annoyance. These are all plausible things for a first-year to have, and it goes without saying that some things simply need to have less time allocated. But that doesn’t mean you need to give anything up completely.

Work out your class timetable in advance of the enrolment date

This may come too late for some of you, but it’s handy advice for anyone. There are a few reasons why you should plan your enrolment a few days early, namely that you’ll be faster to enrol and therefore more likely to get into the courses you want. By making a physical list of the times and enrolment numbers of your lectures and tutorials, you can be done with enrolment in as little as 10 minutes. Because your tutorial times have a massive effect on how much time you’ll have during the day, it’s important to find the times that suit you best – and you simply won’t find them quick enough if you don’t plan your timetable beforehand. You can also schedule in your free time. In other words, you could have as many morning classes as possible to keep your afternoons free.

Know your assignment dates

Dates at uni are always important, but leaving aside the official institution dates, be sure to keep the dates and times your assignments are due in mind. Keep a comprehensive (and chronological) list or calendar of all your due dates, and include the guidelines for your assignments so it's all in one place. One quick look at the document and you’ve gathered your bearings almost immediately.

If you have a job, make room for it

If you have a job or plan to get a job, tailor your uni timetable to make sure you have enough time to get decent work hours. Many employers are understanding when it comes to school commitments, but ultimately their goal is to run a business, and they’ll always roster the people who have the most availability. Depending on your job, you may want to keep your classes in the morning or afternoon, or even have entire days totally free of formal uni commitments. This is why planning ahead is so impactful.

Free time is absolutely something you can still have

Free time isn’t impossible! Say it with me: free time isn’t impossible! If you’ve got a love for Game of Thrones that just won’t quit, then you need not despair: you will be able to have some quality you time - you just need to work out where the rest of your time is going first. Between uni classes, homework and jobs, there will always be a time when you can do what you love without feeling as though you’re procrastinating. Do as much work on-campus as you can to minimise the distractions of home, and if you take public transport you can get your course readings done on the way to and from school. See? There’s room. Just maybe stop spending five hours playing D&D

Ally Jurgens

Ally is a uni student who is shockingly good at remembering facts no one cares about involving TV shows and films. She also writes a bit.