Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A college student’s guide to getting a hectic schedule under control

Monday, December 12, 2022
Graphic by Emma Kratky

Time management: the bane of many college students’ existence, but a crucial skill, especially while balancing multiple commitments and responsibilities.

Many students take on a multitude of activities and commitments after starting college, and for some, a reality check of what they can and cannot handle may be necessary.

Wykeshia Atkins is the director of Learning Assistance Programs at SEMO and oversees academic support provided through tutorial services. She helps students in many areas such as time management, acclimation and success in college.

“You have to make sure you make time for things like a social life, self-care and anything you enjoy doing,” Atkins said. “Time management really is a foundation for student success, because your time and responsibilities all work together and will allow you to be effective in every aspect.”

Students must prioritize the important commitments in their lives, Atkins said. It is important to maintain a healthy balance between academics, extracurriculars and social life; but at the end of the day, academics should be a top priority.

Creating a good work/life balance is necessary for success and involves not working to the point of burnout.

History professor Adam Criblez teaches first-year seminar courses. He said most of his students view time management as a burden, but he doesn’t see it the same way.

Criblez teaches his students to map out how they spend their time for an entire week, down to the hour, then discuss what surprised them regarding their usage of time. He then instructs them to create a daily schedule for their needs.

“Schedule fun stuff in your daily routine — but in order to do that, you must list the things you need to get done first,” Criblez said. “Do not be against building in an hour of social media or relaxation time, as long as you have the discipline to get what needs to get done first.”

In order to prioritize commitments and have time for activities that need to be done and activities wanting to be done, it is helpful to create a to-do list and work on the important or urgent tasks first, according to Atkins. Schedule tasks in the order they need to be done; this allows the dreaded duties to be out of the way early on, without the thought of lurking responsibilities left untouched.

Senior finance major Joel Philpott is involved in multiple on-campus organizations, including Student Government, Greek Life and the Strategic Investment Club. He said he has gradually increased his commitments to best serve him.

“Being busy is a muscle that you have to build; you cannot throw yourself all into it,” Philpott said. “Trying to get involved and managing that is a step-by-step process and requires you to figure out your level and what you can handle at once.”

To make the most of the college experience, being able to have time management skills and create a good balance between school, work and social life is crucial to future success.