In the face of freedom

Budgeting your time in college

Budgeting your time in college

August 06, 2002|by ASHA PATEL

When you get to college, there is so much to do: Take karate classes at the campus recreation center; make a day trip to neighboring Washington D.C.; see a movie at the campus theater; participate in college night life; watch a show at the local performing arts center, oh, and yea, go to class.

With all of the other stuff that college offers students, it may initially seem hard to fit schoolwork into the college experience.

Budgeting one's time wisely is imperative in any situation, and most times, the adjustment to college life calls for a change in the routine. As a rule, college offers more things to do than home ever could. (Or so we tell our parents.) However, a smart schedule is not so hard to establish if it's success you're aiming for.

My first semester at college was not very brilliantly planned.

First off, I took too many credits for a first-year incoming freshman; I was always bogged down with homework. I came to school with innumerable ideas of how I wanted to spend my leisure time, but forgot to sift through that list and prioritize - so nothing got done.


And, I was known for procrastinating. Nights before paper deadlines it was a given that I would pull an all-nighter.

One thing I did do right during the first semester was keeping a dry-erase calendar at my bedside on the wall. It was in plain sight, large enough to be hard to miss, and easily accessible if I was deciding on my activities for the day or for the next month. I recorded my exam dates and project deadlines for an entire semester, so as to keep the day before them free of any other activity, including dates.

If my sister called from home and said she was coming to visit for a weekend, I would glance over at the calendar from my desk and let her know my available days and my unavailable pre-exam/pre-paper days.

So my advice to you is: Upon moving into your dorm, sit down and write down all of your interests - all of the activities you want to make part of your daily or weekly routine. Then from that list, make a different one of activities in the order of their priority to you. Decide what commitments need to be made where, and schedule them so as to establish the when.

Even after deciding on a set schedule, it's important to realize that you're in college - an experience that is the epitome of randomness. Things may come up unexpectedly, so remember to be flexible with your schedule. If something interrupts your daily routine, don't be too easy on yourself so as to lose your discipline, but don't be too hard either because that causes additional, unnecessary stress.

Though I may not seem like an expert on budgeting my own time during my first semester, I can tell you what not to do.

DO NOT wait to do English papers until the day before the deadline. For any other class, you have a slight chance of getting an A or B, but for English, it's impossible.

Also, don't take long naps during the day. They make you feel lethargic, and they're really not healthy. If you're tired from a long day, take a short nap. Power naps of 15 to 20 minutes will rejuvenate you.

It's not particularly hard to budget your time in college. You have a lot of it - the key is in not wasting it.

Asha Patel, a former intern at The Herald-Mail, will be a sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, this fall.

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