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How to Manage Your Time in College

So, you’ve decided it’s time to finish your degree. Congratulations! Now all you need to do is fit college assignments into working, parenting, being a spouse and having time for yourself. It isn’t easy. But it is doable (yes, that’s a word). Here’s how: Before anything else – be honest with yourself and your family.

First, admit that your life will change but it will only last a few years.

Second, be prepared to say “no” to unimportant events you may normally attend.

Third and this is a big one – find at least 1 hour each day to devote to college.

Sounds easy right? The reality is that successfully managing your time is like sticking to a budget. It looks good on paper but falls apart when it’s put into action.

Admitting that your life will change is important because you will need to make concessions and small sacrifices in order to get your work done. You can minimize the disruption to your life by:

  1. Getting up an hour earlier or going to bed an hour later each day using that extra time to complete college assignments. By doing this you will not feel like you are depriving your family of your time with them.

  2. Invest in a lightweight laptop and hot spot (on-the-go internet) so that you can carry it with you to work on assignments during your lunch hour, while waiting for your child to finish his music lesson, dance lesson, sports practice, etc. or while waiting at the doctor’s office or while getting your oil changed (you get the picture).

  3. Download the school app on your phone so you can do discussion posts or read the eTextbook any time. Just make sure that you do your research and post substantial, well-written intelligent posts. Some students use their phone and, well, it shows.

  4. Set aside 2 hours on your days off, or weekend, to ensure that all assignments have been submitted for that week.

  5. If you are taking several classes (which most students are) then decide on which day will be devoted to which course, i.e. Monday is for psychology, Tuesday is for Sociology, etc.

  6. Never assume that an instructor will allow you to submit late work. The points you lose may cause you to fail so either keep up or address the issue with your instructor before the work is due. But remember that when you allow work to accumulate it may become too overwhelming to finish.

  7. Finally, consider only taking 1 or 2 courses during your first semester until you determine exactly what you can handle. Most college advisors will try to talk you into taking a full course load – 3 or 4 courses each semester. But it is your decision.Remember that it is worse to take too many courses and fail 1 or 2 than to just take 1 or 2 and pass them both. The failures will stay on your record and reduce your GPA.

Going back to school can be fun, easy and rewarding if you are prepared.

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