Glossy college brochures show students hanging out on the quad, playing Frisbee, and staying up all night to watch movies with friends. It seems like college students have endless free time, right? Nope! With 80% of students working while attending school, and school course loads taking up approximately 12-15 hours a week, free time is rare. Add in labs, homework, and student organizations, and you start to realize college doesn't offer up as much freedom as you may think.
However, there are certain ways a busy college student can stay organized and get everything done. With a little organizational skills, you can set up your schedule to work efficiently for you. Who knows... maybe you'll even get some time for Frisbee!
As a Busy College Student, You Need to Study Smart
Your primary focus in college is to graduate. Therefore, studying is your number one priority. This doesn’t mean you have to spend all day studying. Think of studying in terms of quality, not quantity.
Keep your study time efficiently organized by using a planner. That may sound nerdy but nerds get good grades. A planner can be physical or digital. Make sure to keep it up-to-date.
If you’re most alert in the morning, create an early morning study block. If you’re a night owl, dedicate some late night time for studying. Listen to your body and study when it's most alert.
Studying is your number one priority. It leads to graduation. Graduation leads to a job. A job leads to fulfillment (and money!).
Set Up Your Space Efficiently
A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. A messy room is a stressful room. A busy college student doesn’t have time for wading through clutter. At the beginning of the school year, set up your room to maximize space:
- Put things you use often, like a backpack, purse, jacket, or keys, out where you can see them. Buy plastic hooks you can hang on the wall for these items. Hang them up as soon as you get in the room.
- Group like items together. This means keeping your shower stuff all in one area, like on hooks inside your closet.
- Put away your clothes. I know, it sounds like something your parents might say, but seriously: put away your clothes. You'll do yourself a favor. By organizing your clothes in ways that make sense, you’ll save yourself a ton of time in the morning. This is awesome because you'll be able to sleep later. That's because you won't have to spend all morning searching for a clean outfit!
If you share a room, it will be harder to control your roommate’s mess. However, by keeping your own space clean, you’ll be able to get what you need done. Maybe your roommate will adopt your time-saving methods.
Take Advantage of Breaks
The best way to stay organized as a busy college student is to take advantage of breaks throughout the day. If you have 2 hours between class and your job, run a load of laundry. You’ll likely have a free washer and dryer available in the middle of the day. That will save time on the weekend when everyone is arguing over the washing machines.
Have an hour between lunch and your next class? Grab a friend who’s in the same class as you and have a quick study session. You can help each other. You both get a free tutor.
If you work a relaxed on-campus job, use the quiet time to review your class notes. When I worked at my school’s library, I was able to read a book in between helping patrons. I brought whatever book we were reading in English class.
Capturing free time during the day is a fantastic idea. It may even lead to wide-open weekends. That can lead to way more college fun!
Staying organized as a busy college student doesn’t have take up much time.
Establish good study habits. Create a living space conducive to living and studying. Use your free time efficiently. These 3 tips will lead to graduation and a fulfilling life thereafter.
Good luck and have fun!