Administrative offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the Juneteenth Independence Day.

Written by Ethan Comer, ‘23

Submitted by Ethan Comer, ‘23

In high school, I got away with having poor time management skills, but less so in college. While I’m still no expert, I have gotten a lot better at managing my time during my college career. Being able to manage your time will lessen your overall stress in life. It is a daily battle with lots of choices, but it’s worth learning. Here are some things that have worked for me:

Know Yourself
This is the first step because all the other steps build off this. It is important to evaluate yourself and know what works for you. For example, would you like to have a class that starts at 8:00am? No? Then you need to schedule your first class to start later, maybe at 10:00am. “Knowing yourself” relates to workload as well. If you think five or six classes a semester would be too much to handle, then just take four; you’d still be a “full-time student” and receive full financial aid. Only you know what you can handle, and taking on too much of a workload will only stress you out. Once you set up your schedule to match your goals (and sleep habits – trust me on this), each step from here is that much easier!

Create a Schedule
I’m not talking about class schedule here; that’s in the first tip. Once you have that figured out, it is important to write out what the days of the week will look for you like outside the classroom. I recommend coming up with a schedule that is divided into thirty-minute sections. Write out your mealtimes, free time, and other activities you would like to do throughout the day. I had a professor my junior year whose Week One assignment was making a schedule. Once I did this, I was able to see that I had more free time than I thought. It’s a great visual tool. Knowing what my day looked like really helped me relax and zero-in on how I spent my time.  

Stay on Task
Yes, it’s important to have flexibility and give yourself grace. But also, sticking with your schedule will allow you to meet any deadlines you have for yourself, which will make you feel more accomplished and, again, less stressed. (Really, time management is stress management.) You can create your schedule on the computer, but you won’t always remember what’s on your computer back in your dorm room when you’re out doing your thing around campus. Maybe print it out, or keep a picture of it on your phone, or use your phone’s calendar app in the first place so you can have it readily available when you need it. Plus, sometimes things happen that will change your schedule at the last minute; if you have your schedule with you somehow, you can change it easily. Another piece of advice related to this one: schedule homework time. It sounds basic, but it’s helpful to ensure that, when the weekend comes, you have little to no homework. This way, you won’t have to beg your professor to give you an extension for a late assignment because of poor timing and inability to stay on task. (And trust me, earning a professor’s trust early on can help a lot if an unexpected illnesses, etc., happen later in the semester.)

Connect with Others
The biggest mistake I made in my first semester at Cumberlands was that I stayed in my room unless I was getting food or was in class. I was so isolated it made me miserable and ready to quit. But it was self-inflicted, which meant it could be self-rectified. I started forcing myself to get out of my dorm room to do my homework; I went to the library and other places on campus where students hung out. This was a gamechanger for me. After a while, if you are consistent with going to the same place around the same time, you start recognizing the same faces there and feeling more comfortable with striking up conversation. And if you see the same faces, that means that you automatically have something in common with them: that time period is, evidently, free time for both of you! You can study together during that time period, or get a meal together, or grab a coffee and just talk. Boom! You’ve made a connection that works from a time-management perspective, plus you gained a new friend.

Don’t Overextend
Your schedule can only have so much on it. If you try to pack too much into each day, then you will exhaust yourself, stress yourself out, and may do poorly in areas where you’re usually strong. Everyone has a limit; know yours. It is better to take precautions and restrict yourself than learning the hard way and having to cut out something you committed to. As much as I want to hang out with friends, run a Bible study group, or take an extra class, sometimes I just can’t fit those things in. I want to graduate on time and with good grades, so that means my coursework comes first. Sometimes you’ve just got to say no to a few fun things, and it’s hard, but it's helpful in the long run.

Follow these time-management tips, and you’re sure to have smooth sailing at Cumberlands.