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How to manage your time in school?

How to plan out activities and keep up with the school work? #chemical-engineering

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Lori’s Answer

I will add to Logan’s suggestion about Google Calendar that there are a lot of different productivity tips and tricks out there - reality is that nothing is a “magic bullet” or a quick fix for time management and what works for one person may not work for someone else. The key with productivity is to find a tool and a process that work for you and stick to it! One of my close friends in college swore by Google Calendar and used it to organize everything. For me, I always used a weekly planner (on paper! I need to write things out to help it stick) - this works well for me to follow the “Big Rocks” technique referenced in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People book by Covey.

One key thing I recommend is to really be honest about where you are wasting time (not all downtime is wasted - your brain needs time to recharge). Anecdotally, I was working 35-40 hours a week my first four years of university, and I was always much more efficient in squeezing in homework in the hallway/study room/coffee shop in short breaks between classes because I knew that I didn’t have 6-8 hours to waste in the day flipping between studying and television and YouTube etc. I will admit though that there were some days in the lab that I really envied the groups laughing it up and having a good time goofing off or going out late to the bars, but my priority was paying the bills :-)

Today I am using a combination of OmniFocus software and still a paper weekly calendar planner to map out my week ahead.

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi willie L. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

To put my answer into context, I will share that I know at the start of my college journey, that I wanted to graduate with an engineering degree. And I was able to achieve that goal...but I didn't start out with an appreciate of how important time management was. That took some learning on my part.

What I did learn, by the time I got to the second semester of my second year, was that my social calendar was going to be very different from some of my peers. I also learned that I was horrible at all-nighters (that is staying up all night to cram for a test). I did it once and vowed that I would never do it again. :)

I created a study schedule and built a network of study partners. When you are working with others, you have no choice but to manage your time (if you plan to keep those partners and be respectful of others). I learned how to pace myself meaning how to leave space between lecture time and asking follow up questions (which often times isn't done during lecture hours but can be done during office hours). And, I learned to ask for help. Sometimes this can be the most difficult thing to do because it may feel like you need others in order to pass your class. In my view, nothing wrong with that. Asking for help is a way to learn how to do things better. Managing your time such that you can get the help that you need is also a good step.

I hope this feedback is helpful.

Best of luck!
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Michael’s Answer

Be prepared to work on homework for 6-8 hours every day in addition to 20 hours of class time each week. Engineering students do not have a typical college partying experience you might hear about from business or liberal arts majors
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Logan’s Answer

You know, this all depends on what you want to do with your classes and how hard you perceive them. Personally, I learned how much time commitment was required for each class before really budgeting out my time appropriately. Honestly, as long as you put your school work and ensuring you finish that first, then you will be able to budget for social occasions. Sometimes you just will have to miss out on some fun things. Or sleep less. Those are really your ultimate results. You have to be just realistic with your priorities.
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