Time management and I became inseparable the fall semester of my sophomore year.
Before my sophomore year, I typically waited until a week before my exam and study for about one hour a day.
It sounds pretty good if one hour meant 100 percent focus on the material in front of me. Instead, I would absentmindedly read the material and then mess around on my phone for 10 minutes.
When my second year of college started, I promised I wouldn’t make that same mistake.
I didn’t expect the challenge to thrust itself before me so quickly in the semester.
All my professors were extremely considerate, separating all the assignments for their individual class. However, at one point all the papers and exams landed within a two-week timeframe.
The first wave of deadlines hit between late September and early October.
The first week only consisted of a short paper for my Roman Family Law class and another for Studies in Narrative. It doesn’t seem that difficult when I see it written down like this—until you factor in that three tests loomed over me the following week, so I needed to study for those, too.
I started by mapping out every day in my agenda. I created a to-do list for each day where I would dedicate a specific allotted time for each exam. Spreading out my studying over two weeks prevented me from pulling an all-nighter right before the test.
The other part of my schedule I spent working incessantly on my two papers. Again, following the agenda appeared simple enough, leaving me ample time for each individual task.
However, I also worked 13 hours a week during the semester and attended meetings for clubs. Plus, professors still assigned homework on top of the papers and tests.
Some days I got off of work at 6:30 p.m., watching the sunset behind the gorgeous buildings, and I still hadn’t focused on any of the encroaching deadlines.
I sometimes felt jealous of watching people leave the library just as I sat down, pulling out my computer and headphones for the long night ahead of me.
It felt like those two weeks couldn’t pass by quickly enough.
I can still remember my eyes feeling heavy from weariness. Sometimes the dizziness took over my vision from the countless hours concentrating on the computer screen.
Those two weeks were filled with nonstop hard work and dedication. Meeting all of my deadlines while sufficiently eating and sleeping felt like a miracle in and of itself. Though extremely stressful, I know I did my best. I felt confident taking my exams and turning in my papers.
The quality of my work would’ve turned out subpar if I hadn’t carved time into my schedule for each individual deadline. I spread out all of my studying, going over the material several times over the course of two weeks.
Strict time management kept me from feeling overstressed. Of course, I craved sleep during those late nights at the library. However, I pushed through it because I knew it would be a lot worse if I put off studying for my exams and writing my papers.
I know it is difficult to discipline oneself in a new way of life. Putting down the phone and stopping my procrastination did not come easily. Setting aside my distractions, I looked away from distracting apps and towards the looming assignment that awaits me.
It’ll be years before I master the practice of time management, but at least I’m trying. I continue encouraging myself, thinking about all the positive results I seen since I began cracking down on the ways I manage my time.