By Trent Ostrom
The balance of doing well in school, working, being active in a student organization and still making time for friends and family may seem like an impossible task to some. But for a many college students, this balancing act is an everyday reality.
Shelby Thayer, a junior majoring in Communication Studies, has been familiar with this balancing act since her freshman year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“I was not expecting how much time school work would consume going into college,” Thayer said. “At the beginning of my freshman year my free time was spent sleeping because I was either going to school during the day or working at night or on the weekends.”
Thayer also said she had friends who dropped out because they weren’t able to handle the burden of balancing classes and everything else going on in their life.
Neither Shelby’s nor her friends’ experiences with time management are unfamiliar on a college campus. Many students have conflicting priorities that ultimately take away from your college experience.
Abbie Syrek, director of MavForensics, has seen this happen each semester with her students.
“Every semester I have multiple students who panic, who tell me they can’t do it anymore. What they don’t realize is that it’s not that they can’t do it, it’s that they don’t see their problem is not managing their time properly,” Syrek said.“To help them, I sit down with them and recommend to write out big projects and meetings from their syllabuses in a planner so they know what’s coming up and what’s going to come up later.”
For Thayer, buying a planner and writing out her week was what helped her overcome feeling overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis.
“I used to never use a planner, but now I plan ahead and highlight different things coming up so I can anticipate my week,” Thayer said.
Each student has a different way of approaching what planning looks like to them and what they should include. Syrek suggests writing down your top five priorities and base your planner of that list.
“I’ve seen some students who really prioritize going to the gym while others value family and haven’t seen them for months,” Syrek said. “When a main priority is missing from a student’s schedule, it affects not only their grades but their overall well-being.”
Finding what priorities mean the most to you and how you should plan with them means something to each student, but once a student has figured it out, that student will benefit in the future.
Thayer is confident going into her junior year and knows that she has found the time management balance she was looking for.
“Time management is an equation, but once you solve it, you’ll never forget it,” Syrek said.