College is a big transition time for everyone, especially first-year students. It’s really the first time you’re being truly independent and doing things all on your own, the first time you have to be totally responsible for yourself and your time-management. In high school and earlier, everything was laid out black and white for you, but now in college you have to navigate your own schedule and figure out what works best for you to be able to succeed.
Use A Planner
Regardless of if you choose to use a paper planner, an online calendar, or another form of organizing, do something! Having everything neatly organized and easy to find will be a life-saver. Before I started using a planner I forgot to do things all the time, and when I finally got one my life changed for the better. I personally used Google Calendar and had a separate paper planner, and I used them both for different things. My paper planner was only school assignments, and my Google calendar was social/work/family responsibilities. There are also some amazing online organizers where you can have different tabs for everything you need. Whatever way works best for you, you should be doing something.
Starting college really puts your prioritizing skills to the test. Of course, you want to be able to do everything you possibly can, but sometimes that’s not realistically possible. Being able to prioritize your life realistically and be responsible for things you need to manage will help balance your time properly and make sure you’re not too overwhelmed. For example, if today you have three classes, a shift at work, and an exam tomorrow that you need to study for, it’s probably not the best idea to schedule social plans today. Having a calendar handy and being able to recognize what’s important and what can wait will drastically improve your life.
Be Comfortable Saying No
Often times I find myself becoming busiest and most overwhelmed when I can’t get myself to say no to something. Whether it’s doing someone a favor, grabbing dinner or coffee with a friend, picking up an extra shift at work, or anything else; it’s okay to say, “I’m sorry, but I’m just too busy today”. Part of becoming a responsible adult is being able to recognize how many things on your “to-do” list makes your brain want to explode. It’s okay to cancel on someone if you can’t find the time to finish what’s more important, and it’s okay to say no when people ask things of you. Master the art of prioritizing yourself and your first-hand responsibilities before taking on other things.