Time management in collegeDear Kid,

There was an article in yesterday’s paper called 4 tips for managing your time in college (lack of caps is the newspaper’s, not mine). Here are the author’s four tips (and my thoughts) because I don’t think he got all of it exactly right.

Schedule Early Classes

At this point your classes are already scheduled and you do have a bunch of early ones, so yay for you in that you got it right (if you believe this article). Seems to me that while this isn’t bad advice, class scheduling is partly based on when classes are offered. Keep on keeping on.

Study Between Classes

Yeah, like that’s going to happen if there isn’t an exam on the immediate horizon. I think that a mental break between classes is a good thing, but I agree that it can add up to a lot of wasted time. My suggestion is to Make Good Use of the Time Between Classes in a non-studying way. Walk over to the library to pick up the paper you printed last night or to reserve a book. Saunter over to the Bursar’s Office to pay next semester’s tuition from all the money you earned at your job. (Hey, I can dream, can’t I?) Text a friend to arrange a time to study together. Buy laundry detergent so you can do a load or two later. When you have a two hour break, that can be a lot of time spent watching the clouds float by. Especially on a less than glorious day.

Study After Class Before Dinner

This of course depends greatly on when the class is. For example, I don’t recommend studying before dinner on Mondays when your last class ends at 9pm. The author’s point has less to do with when you eat and more to do with how you spend your afternoons. Specifically, he points out that 7 hours of social media, texting, and getting sucked in to really bad soap operas day time dramas is a trap many college kids fall into and that can and should be avoided. Like the plague. Like the Killing You With Bad Grades and Last Minute Cramming Plague. Like the My Mother Will Kill Me for Wasting All This Time Plague.

When You Study, Focus

Sounds obvious. Not consistently executed on college campuses in these here now United States. Too often, people study with the TV on. In general, this is a bad idea. Most people—99.87% according to my calculations—miss the good parts of the TV show and all the parts of what they’re supposed to be studying. Can you say Pointless? Can you say Big Ol’ Waste O’ Time? Can you say “What do you mean you missed the last episode of Burn Notice??”

A Final Word Not From The Article: Library Time Does Not Necessarily Equal Study Time

There are people—you’ve probably already met some of them—who whine and moan about how much they are studying, how many zillion hours they are spending in the library, how impossible it is to keep up. In some corner of your mind you might be impressed with how dedicated they are to the studying aspect of college. In some other corner of your mind, you wonder what the heck they are working on because you got the assignment done in an hour last night. And in yet another corner of your mind, you might be worrying about how you can ever keep up with people who study that much and that maybe you missed something on the assignment if it’s taking them that long.

The thing, O Best Beloved, is that you have no idea how they study or how they spend their time at the library. There are (really) people who go to the library, buckle down, and study. There are also (really) people who go to the library, scout the best spot, stop to talk to someone for a few minutes, stop to chat with someone else about the Really Difficult Assignment, open a book, get up to use the restroom, find their place in the book, read a paragraph, get up to go find a beverage…you get the point. It’s the studying equivalent of Booker sniffing the yard. Squirrel!

Use your time well, kiddo. You’ve got lots of it to study, work, train, and enjoy.

Love, Mom