09 May

Organizing a schedule in college is vital for academic and life success! With important obligations as classes, work, clubs, extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities, building a schedule is the best way to organize time and alleviate the stress from piling tasks. 

As a first-year student, within the first few weeks of college, I quickly found out how important it was to organize all my responsibilities into a schedule and to keep a planner for all the tasks I needed to complete over the week. 

Without a planner and an organized schedule, which I mistakenly started school off without, I soon discovered that I was completing assignments at the last minute and I was constantly stressed with a perceptibly insurmountable amount of tasks and responsibilities to complete. This is one of the many mistakes I made as a freshman college student.

Fortunately, I was able to learn from my mistake and escape the drought of procrastination that I was often conflicted with early on. After a mildly lousy midterm, I was able to recuperate my routine habits and soar through the first semester with a 4.0 gpa. Here’s how I reorganized my time and the ways in which you can develop a successful routine/schedule in college:

My Daily Schedule at Berea College

While I certainly did not have the perfect first semester at college, I was able to learn from many of my mistakes and perform exceptionally well at the conclusion of the term. Furthermore, I was able to take everything I learned from the first semester and begin my second semester more smoothly. Hence, I will discuss how I created my second semester schedule, developed a sun-up to sun-down routine, and how I was able to find academic and personal success and enjoy the college experience altogether.

Schedule Tip: Prioritize and first organize classes, then work-shifts, then clubs and extracurricular activities, and finally downtime for entertainment and/or rest.

Before entering the second semester, anyhow, students were able to select their desired courses for the new term (something first-semester students could not do). When choosing college courses, it is important to select courses that fit neatly into a schedule, fulfill the credit requirements for full-time enrollment, and, of course, the classes that are relevant to your major and academic pursuits.

At Berea College, there are scheduling services available to assist this process in selecting the best courses at the Student Success & Transitions Department.

Here is what my second semester course schedule looks like:

In this example, I took Wellness II, Organic Chemistry I, Modern Biology, and Calculus II on MWF and Writing Seminar II on TR, along with the respective lab periods as represented above. 

After confirming enrollment into classes, this schedule is often auto-generated or can be crafted easily nonetheless. For me, I would then rewrite the schedule into my phone’s calendar and turn on banner notifications.

Next, particularly for Berea College students, it is important to share this information with your labor supervisor in order to coordinate a weekly labor schedule to fulfill the required 10 hours (or more, depending on the position level). For me, I was able to fit in a 3-5pm MF shift and a 8-12am, 3-5pm T shift. 

The important note here is that you want to give yourself enough time to perform sufficiently at work, therefore it is recommended that you find 1-2 hour periods to schedule for labor.

Lastly, organizing time for extracurricular activities, clubs, and recreation will complete the weekly college schedule. Moreover, with most organized campus activities, it is important to consult your availability with the club’s president/leader/organizer in order to optimize times for everyone, including you.

Here is a typical example of a Berea College student’s (mine) schedule:

In this example, I woke up at 5:30am to get ready for the day, and during 6:00-6:55am I exercised at the gym. Here, the Blue blocks represent the daily essentials. Meanwhile the Green blocks represent my class schedule and the Purple blocks represent my work schedule. Back into the evening after dinner, I had an abundance of time for homework, which is portrayed above. The only thing missing from this schedule is a Monday and Thursday club period from 7-9pm. At the end of the day, I would go to bed at 10:00-10:30pm.

As a simple reminder—yet a crucial one—do NOT forget to make time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and time for at least seven hours of sleep. These essentials are critical for success in college, and as you can see, I have also included them into my schedule.

Finally, when all has been considered and incorporated into the ideal weekly schedule, then everything is essentially complete and you are on your way to becoming a successful college student. 

But there can always be betterments to anything, including a schedule.

For example, when a project or homework assignment has been assigned by a course instructor or club organizer, it is imperative to rewrite the task down in a planner. Furthermore, it is also great practice to plan ahead and organize time within the schedule so that a productivity period is already established, rather than attempting to fit time elsewhere. 

This specificity in planning will eliminate procrastination, improve the quality of work, lessen the level of perceived stress, and build great habits for success later in life.

As a college student, I utilized all of these scheduling tips and tricks to routinely plan for success in college, and I hope they can help you as well!

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