SummaryDeveloping a productive schedule is important no matter where you are in your education. Anna Eileen offers tips for adapting your schedule in college.
One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the incredible amount of flexibility it affords.
I really enjoyed the ability to plan my own schedule and do what works for me.
However, once I got to college, I was forced to sacrifice the almost total autonomy I had previously had over my school routine. This was intensified by the fact that I am a nursing major, since almost all my classes are assigned to me without options for time or day.
While this definitely took some getting used to, I eventually learned to manage this new lifestyle. The strategies that I am sharing can not only be used by current or incoming college students, but also by Seton high schoolers who are trying to establish schedules for themselves.
1. Know yourself.
Some people need consistency. They need to go to sleep, wake up, and fulfill their responsibilities at the same time every day. Others prefer to change it up and live spontaneously.
A college schedule presents a challenge for both types of people. A student’s class schedule is often not the same every day of the week. In fact, for both last semester and the upcoming one, my class schedule is completely different each day. I found it somewhat hard to get used to this.
On the other hand, those who like to live more spontaneously may find it difficult to conform to any sort of schedule, especially if coming from a homeschooling background.
I know that I need a consistent schedule, so I set out to make my college routine as regular as possible. I try to go to bed, wake up, and eat my meals at around the same time each day, regardless of when my classes are. This really helps me feel like I am in a routine, no matter what my responsibilities are that day.
If you prefer to live more spontaneously, I recommend at least blocking off time for homework assignments/studying and keeping track of those duties. That way, you can relax during your free time, knowing that you don’t have to worry that you are not getting your work done.
2. Make a routine.
Spend time developing a routine, and make sure to refine and adjust it as you go along. College alone is a big adjustment, but moving out and living on campus is a HUGE change.
I found myself kind of overwhelmed by the fact that I could make my own decisions with how to spend my day — I didn’t have to compromise with and work around the needs of my family. I tried my best to find a new routine, but it took a lot of time. My routine the first year constantly changed as I found out what worked for me and what didn’t.
The important thing to remember is that your routine is not set in stone. Experiment and figure out how you need to structure your days to do your best work.
3. Use your planner.
Use your planner for more than just classes. I use my planner to write in social plans, my exercise plans for that day, and other non-school-related aspects of my day. I found that doing so really helped me maintain consistency since I knew what to expect. It also helped me feel more in control of my schedule.
Another thing that helped me was to write down what I would do during different chunks of time for different things. For example, 8-4 is classes with studying in between, 4-6 is free time, 6-7 is dinner, 7-8 is the time when I tackle the things left on my to-do list, 8-9 is prayer and getting ready for bed, etc.
4. Don’t compare.
It’s really easy for me to compare my schedule to that of others because, being homeschooled, I didn’t see many other students’ routines. For example, I know that I need a lot of sleep to do my best in school. When I see other students stay up late studying for an upcoming test, I start to feel like I do not work hard enough.
However, that’s not accurate — perhaps those students are night owls and that’s when they study best. I schedule my study time in the morning and late afternoons because I know that’s when I study best. I don’t work less hard than they do; we just work differently.
Theses strategies are what worked for me, but everyone is different. Share your ideas in the comments!