When you first start living away from home it can take some discipline to get into a routine of school, work, study time and having fun. When you’re responsible for managing your own time it can be fun, but also a learning curve. If you’re used to your mom always reminding you of your activities and deadlines, preparing your meals and watching your back, it will take a little planning to get into a routine to do this on your own.
Many times new students will overschedule classes their first semester, but remember, getting used to college life will take a little time, so allow yourself the space to have fun too. A well-rounded college experience is important, especially if you’re in a big city for the first time. Like Ferris Buller said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Develop A Routine.
If you’re in school, your daily class schedule may vary. Studies show that we get better quality sleep when we go to bed and wake up around the same time everyday, because it reinforces our circadian rhythm. Wake up daily at your earliest time, and on days you have extra time in the morning do something for yourself. Get some exercise, maybe go to a yoga class at a studio like Sonic Yoga in NYC or find a class online like the ones offered by The Underbelly.
Make Time For Meals.
Having a busy schedule means that you may feel like you don’t have time to eat. Having snacks with you at all times is crucial, and helps save money on eating out. At Webster, 2 of guests daily meals are included. Decide which meals are most helpful to you to have planned, which may vary day by day. Many times when we sustain our bodies with iced coffee all day we end up eating everything in sight when we get home because we’re just so hungry. Make your body and brain happy by making nourishment a priority.
Make A List.
Some days you may have so many deadlines that feelings of overwhelming anxiety take over. Our advice is to get the list out of your head and on paper, then start with one thing. Keep a physical or digital calendar to help stay organized. Sometimes the thought of a deadline hanging over your head is worse than the task itself. If your looming task is writing a long paper, start by writing an outline and then begin to fill in some talking points. This again helps get thoughts out of your head and take action.
Do One Thing At A Time.
Sometimes we start doing one task and that ends up opening up another task. It’s normal to feel like you want to follow that thread, but “shiny ball syndrome” can distract us from not finishing anything.
Use the Pomodoro Technique.
This helpful time management technique helps break down tasks into small manageable segments. Set a timer for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. It is amazing what we can achieve in smaller more focused amounts of time. Remember that if you at a point where you just cannot seem to focus, Take a break. Get some sunlight if possible, take a walk around and change your scenery.
Taking study breaks is crucial. Ideally, get up every 30 minutes and walk around, rest your eyes by looking at something at least 20 feet away. Stand up and stretch, do some jumping jacks or lunges, maybe a quick sun-salutation to get some blood flowing in your body. Have a snack, even take a walk to grab some frozen yogurt! Remember that at some point it is better to go to bed and resume your work in the morning. Doing tasks late when you’re tired can end up taking longer than if you got some sleep and started fresh the next day.
Scent has a strong connection with memory, and can help us relax, breathe, and regulate the nervous system. Light a candle that has a pleasing smell. Before starting a task, spend a moment sitting with your eyes closed, breathe in and out through the nose a few times, and center your thoughts. After a few calming breaths, begin your task. Music can also help mood, can evoke positive memories, and makes us happy. Make a playlist, or find one, that will be pleasant to have in the background, but won’t be distracting.
At the end of the day, remember that managing your time is a form of self-care. You are not a machine, you need proper nourishment and rest to thrive. Student life can be crazy and stressful, but looking back later in life you’ll realize this was the most fun time of life, be sure to take lots of pictures! We wish you all the best with your exciting new experiences. Remember that you’re not alone. Community is so helpful as a new college student or moving to a new city. Your Webster besties are here for you!