Study Between Shots: Time Management in College

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Getting the grade and getting laid don’t have to be competing ambitions. Though you should spend more time at the library than at the bar, you don’t have to spend every Friday night slaving over a stack of flashcards to survive this semester. Take a look at these eight ways to balance between books and booze.

1) Make a schedule (and stick to it).

There’s a reason teachers have been pushing you to keep a planner since the first grade. Fox Business reports that keeping a calendar on a dry erase board or smartphone forces you to visualize weekly or monthly obligations and emphasize priorities. By keeping track of past, present and future assignments, you can ensure you don’t spend your Thirsty Thursday cramming for a Geology midterm.

2) Utilize your study time efficiently.

When you find yourself with time to hit the books, don’t waste time procrastinating. Shut off your phone and crack open that textbook. There’s no point even starting if you’re going to text between every sentence. Try rewarding yourself. “Put m&ms down the page of whatever you are studying to help you keep getting through it,” said Penn State junior Jocelyn Stoudt. A snack at the end of each chapter can be a real page-turner.

3) Make procrastination productive.

You’re only human. If you find your attention shifting from a history paper, switch to another productive task. Just because you can’t stand to type another word doesn’t mean that you can’t get something else done. Writing a few notecards or even just cleaning your apartment beats eating just because you’re bored.

4) Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

Unless you’re a Spanish major, make sure you finish the coursework for your major before you spend five hours flipping through flashcards. There’s a reason its called an elective. That “A” might look nice on your transcript, but you shouldn’t let a class that’s merely a graduation requirement distract you from developing skills in your field. Cut the conjugation and type up that term paper.

5) Make your own study hall.


The two hours after biology and before English aren’t just for lunch and naps. Unfortunately, you’re no longer in kindergarten, so use every second to your advantage. “I spend free time between classes in my favorite quiet places, free of distraction,” said recent Seton Hill graduate Emily Namachar. Find your spot on campus and stick to it. That bench on the quad or table at Starbucks calls your name.

6) Celebrate the right way.

Think of tonight’s social as your reason to get your literature paper done early. A night out should be a reward for a job well done, not an excuse to fail a project. Chug a beer or take a shot in the name of victory. Nothing’s better than drinking with a clear conscious.

7) Recruit Some Study Buddies

You can incorporate socializing into your schoolwork if you can stay on task. Grab your core group of friends, blast some music (hide the booze), and dive into that textbook. Namachar said she often did her homework by working with friends. “Homework wasn’t as tedious,” she said. You’ll also have the bonus of knowing your friends will also be available when the time to party finally comes around.

8) Don’t sweat the little things.


Keep your priorities straight. Though grades obviously matter, college isn’t only about report cards. From social life to internships to extracurricular activities, the experiences you gain out of the classroom shape the person you become. While it’s not something to jot down on a resume, good and bad nights out in college can help you develop who you are. Former Virginia Tech class president Jay Tucker said employers look for more than grades when hiring. “Don’t let your school get in the way of your education,” he said.

Daniel Kuhn is a senior studying journalism at Penn State University. A great companion. Just don't feed him after midnight.

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