A Freshman’s Lesson in Time Management

Finding the Right Balance

It’s been around four weeks since I started my journey here at Illinois. Classes are starting to get into their core content, and things are starting to ramp up. During all of this, I realize how important time management is. Back in high school, I could wake up an hour before a class starts and finish the assignment before its due. Or wait until the 11:59 due date and rush to finish it. But I have realized that college requires more focus and planning around how you spend your time. It’s all about finding the right balance that is for you. Although I have only a few weeks of experience, here are some tips in order to manage your time both efficiently and healthily!

Utilizing Your Week

The second week of college, it felt like I was thrown to the sharks. There were a lot of assignment’s suddenly put on me, and in the virtual atmosphere, it was very overwhelming to navigate. Fortunately, reading the syllabus and putting events on a calendar or whiteboard, (I recommend Notion!), is an efficient way to map out due dates in the present and future. The strategy I also took was starting big reading assignments earlier on in the week, (Monday/Tuesday) and finishing everything by Wednesday or Thursday.

Another strategy I used was doing work early in the morning, as opposed to late at night. But ultimately it is up to you to mix and match how you plan out how to do your work. Some of us are late-night workers, or some of us are early morning workers, a part of finding your balance is looking introspectively into who you are, and what you can handle.

Put Yourself First

This is a tough subject for workaholics. Many of us feel like we must be always doing work or something important. But I have learned the importance of relaxation and taking a break from all the chaos and hecticness. In college, you are given a lot of free time for RSO’S, clubs, studying, and other activities. Sometimes it can be difficult for us to take time away from the responsibilities and work of college. But it can be a refreshing and inspiring experience.

Go on that walk, play that video game you want, listen to that new album that just came out, go to that concert or fair that you saw on social media. Those are all ways to combat burnout and balance your social and academic life.

Feeling Burnout Is OK

Many of us are coming back from virtual schooling environments. Transitioning from virtual to in person learning is both tough and intimidating. Or even continuing school in the virtual atmosphere, like I am, has been challenging. Feeling burnout from this transition is normal. One method I use to combat burnout is setting small goals based on what I complete. For example, if I finish twenty pages of a forty-page reading, I’ll take a small break, either going outside or playing a quick match of a game. And then continue. Another method I use to combat burnout is having those “Study with me” videos on YouTube in the background while I do work! I feel like it’s easier to do work or study with someone “virtually.”

There are also resources here at Illinois that help student’s with utilizing their time and finding resources that help them be at their best. You can go to the Career Center, or even talk to your advisor to map out your plan for for the week. There are many resources here at Illinois that can help you adjust to the new atmosphere you are in. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to take a break if you need to.



Class of 2025
Hello! I'm a Political Science major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and I grew up in Chicago Heights, IL. I love all things international, political, and vintage. I am also an Illinois Promise scholar. As a college applicant, it can be tough to navigate the resources of the college process. But I hope my blogs make it much easier to choose UIUC!

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