The ability to manage your time effectively is one of the most important skills to master while at college. You can be as smart as a whip, but if you allocate your time unwisely then you are destined to under-perform in your studies. What’s more, poor time management will create a lot of headaches for you after college, whether you enter the wonderful world of full-time employment or graduate school. In short: now is the time to get time management right.
How can you go about doing this?
First, you need some time to manage. This might seem like an obvious point, but it’s an open secret that many students simply don’t devote much time to their studies. I see the effects of this every single semester.
For a professor, there are few things in life bleaker than holding office hours. I write that not because I don’t like meeting with students, but because I don’t get to meet with enough of them. Office hours, it seems, have fallen out of favor with today’s undergraduates. They are a badly underused resource, which is a real shame.
But it is my hope that we might yet witness a reversal in office hours’ fortunes; that a bright new era of student-professor rapprochement might replace the dark and dismal times in which we now live; and that my own office hours might become the hippest hangout on campus. Or something.
This is the first in a semester-long series of blog posts offering tips to undergraduate students. The series is aimed in particular at my students at Colorado State University, although I hope it might prove useful to others. My aim is to help students to avoid some common pitfalls, canvassing a range of topics from (un)professionalism to essay-writing to time management. If you’re a student and there’s a particular issue that you’d like to see addressed, please get in touch.
School is a team sport. Hardly any students—and too few faculty—think in such terms, but it’s true: in order to succeed as an undergraduate, you’ll have to draw on much more than just your own efforts and intellect. Nobody can make it on their own in college, even if you do fancy yourself as something of a LeBron James.
It could hardly be any other way. Consider that the average student takes five classes per semester for eight semesters. That’s a whopping forty classes over the course of an undergraduate degree: dozens of midterms, oodles of essays, countless quizzes, and enough pages of reading to wipe out a good chunk of the Amazon rainforest. Who on earth could undertake such a mammoth project without any help whatsoever?