Top time-management tips for students
“It’s sometimes difficult for students [to return to school] — especially if friends and family don’t understand or support their decision,” says Gloria Pugliese, MBA, a former high school teacher and area chair for the University of Phoenix College of Humanities and Sciences at the Philadelphia Campus.
Here’s how busy students can better manage their time:
Ask for help.
There’s no reason to go it alone on housework and child care, says Dawn Weldon, who has a master’s in counseling and is an instructor in the psychology program at the University’s Baton Rouge Campus. “Don’t be afraid to ask [extended] family or friends to watch the kids for an hour or help out with chores,” she says, noting that you might be surprised at how much support you receive.
Weldon points out that family members can help maintain the household. “On Saturdays, everyone at my house gets assigned a chore, and whoever finishes theirs first gets to pick the family activity for the day,” she says. “It’s a fun race for everyone, and the chores get done.”
Juggling schoolwork with personal relationships sometimes requires you to assert yourself, according to Weldon, who cites an example from one of her classes.
“A student got a call during class from her boyfriend asking her how to cook a hot dog,” she says. “Rather than chide the student for taking the call, I used it as an example of why it’s important to set boundaries.”
Students should tell family and friends when they’ll be in class or doing homework, Weldon stresses, and request no interruptions during those times other than for emergencies.
Pugliese agrees. “Maintaining a social life is important,” she says, so spend time doing what you enjoy with the people who mean the most to you and support your decision to go back to school. If your free time is tight, she notes, group social events are a good way to visit with many people at once.
“I encourage all my students to get a Crock-Pot® [slow cooker],” Weldon says. “You spend 15 minutes in the morning preparing ingredients before you go to work, plug it in and there’ll be a hot meal waiting when you get home,” leaving you more time for studying and other activities.
She also suggests that working-student parents “play school” with their kids to blend family and study time. “Parents get their homework done while giving children a way to participate [by doing their own schoolwork] and have fun,” she says.
Doing all the housework perfectly all the time is impossible, Weldon emphasizes, so set priorities. “You only have so much time to work with,” she says. “Ask yourself what’s more important — getting the towels folded a certain way or spending quality time with your family.”
Crock-Pot is a registered trademark of Sunbeam Products Inc.