Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Living the Successful College Life: Juggling Your Schedule

If you haven’t snagged a scholarship (tip: it may not be too late! Keep looking!), you don’t want to get into serious debt before you graduate by taking out loans. Unless you have parents or rich uncles with the income to pay your college tuition, you may find it necessary to work while you attend school. Figuring out a good schedule that allows you time for a job, study, sleep, and recreation can be tricky, but it’s not impossible to do. Having a job while attending school can be a drag, but try to think of it as a lesson in responsibility and growing up. If you’re lucky enough to live in LA Tech housing or other campus housing that provides furnished living spaces and easy-to-access social and exercise areas, the task becomes easier. Here are some steps to take to prevent yourself from burning out even with a packed schedule.

Determining Your Priorities

It’s time to be a grown-up, which, though it isn’t always as fun as the more carefree life of childhood or adolescence, is a good time to develop positive habits that will benefit you the rest of your life. Besides, being responsible doesn’t mean nothing is fun anymore. Determining your priorities for your scheduling also helps you avoid a lot of stress that develops from procrastination, worry about the future, and money issues. Reducing stress helps you feel free and productive. Sit down when you have some quiet time to think and ask yourself what is most important for you to be doing right now. As a college student, you are likely working toward a degree that will increase your chances of enjoying your career as well as being able to earn enough money to support yourself and a future family. If working at a job is a necessary component, this is also a priority. Adequate sleep will help you have the energy to meet your commitments. This might mean your social life suffers a bit, and you won’t be able to attend quite as many all-night parties as you’d like; but if you’re going to college merely to party, you might want to re-think the whole college thing for the time being. While you prioritize, realize that if any one area is taking up so much time that you’ll never get a chance for doing something you like (recreation), you’ll probably burn out. Adjust your priorities and schedule accordingly. Maybe take fewer credits or apply for some grants.

Plan Your Schedule on Paper

Once you know where your priorities lie, work out your schedule on paper or on some electronic calendaring system. If you are naturally drawn to having a structured schedule, this step will be easy and enjoyable. If you like things more flexible, a bare-bones schedule will do as long as you firmly include your top priorities. Depending on how necessary your job is for your financial well-being, you will also need to work your classes and other activities around working hours. Perhaps you can work early-morning hours, finishing your work day before classes start so you don’t have daytime conflicts. Or nail down a job before registering for classes so you know exactly what class times are best for you. Assign yourself some time during the day or week to study or complete homework. What time is left over is yours to do with as you please.

Finding the Fun in Adulthood

Being responsible for yourself while living in LA Tech housing doesn’t mean all the fun is over. Part of the joy in life is having new experiences, making new friends, and meeting challenges head-on. If there isn’t something to look forward to, your life will become dull and boring. Even adults are allowed to enjoy life. Parents, responsible relatives, student advisors, and mentors can help you find a good balance that works for you as you put together your student schedule.

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