Eat, Sleep, Socialize, or Study: Managing Time in College
Ah, college, an age when you have endless hours to sleep, eat, and socialize, but never enough time for papers, reading, and studying, right? Well, we’ve got some tips to help you have it all, without losing your mind from sleepless insanity or spending all of your Saturday nights in the library.
Related: 4 Skills for Surviving Freshman Year
Look, we all want to join in on the parties, and everything is always going to be super fun, but there comes a time when you have to prioritize your needs. Two things you need for survival are sleep and food. You don’t necessarily have to sleep 8 hours a night or eat 3-5 square meals a day. Combine 5-6 hours of sleep with coffee, fruit, and nuts, and you’re ready for studying or socializing.
Just keep yourself on the cusp of hunger and exhaustion throughout the week, and then make up for it on weekends and breaks. While we might have trouble focusing in our classes, studies show that we can always catch up on sleep without any long-term damage, so if it comes down to the wire, it’s okay to have a sleepless week every once in a while.
Time Your Studying Appropriately
You know those really difficult tasks that require complete silence and 100% focus? Like, maybe, writing a paper, reading a novel in another language, or even reading some of your god-awful textbooks? Make sure you get them out of the way during the week. Yes, this means going to the library on Mondays before your 10:30am class, or spending time there until midnight on a Thursday.
Get these difficult tasks mostly completed before you begin your weekend, because god knows your brain won’t be able to handle much more than flashcards and memorization on Saturday and Sunday.
Snack and Study
HackCollege would never condone stealing, per se, but I highly recommend sneaking a few snacks from your dining hall. Bananas, apples, nuts, sandwiches wrapped in napkins, whatever, I say snag it. You’re never going to use all of your meals anyway, and there’s no reason for you to have to leave your study zone because your stomach won’t stop growling.
Keep healthy snacks and dining hall sandwiches on hand so you can kill two birds with one stone.
There is a tipping point in drunkenness where you can’t possibly make any new short-term memories. You will use Comic Sans to caption your photos with “Nights we’ll never remember, with friends we’ll never forget.”
But guess what, there’s really no point in drinking until you forget everything, because the memories are the best part. Yes, it is fun to fill in each other’s fuzzy memories the morning after, but say no to those last 2-3 beers, and you will be a more productive person the next day.
This is the second part of “drink less.” You can actually go out with your friends and party and have a great time without going much beyond buzzed. Then when your friends vomit, or talk crazy talk, or pass out with their toothbrushes in their mouths, you can wash your face, put on pajamas, and welcome sleep like an old friend. You will wake up feeling more refreshed.
In fact, you might wake up before anybody else because you’re not sleeping off a gallon of Everclear-spiked jungle juice. You might not technically get more shut-eye than anyone else, but your sleep will be much deeper, which will refresh you, rather than exhaust you.
Study on Saturday
Assuming that was your Friday night, this brings us to Saturday morning. Your friends are half-dead zombies moving in slow motion. But not you. You woke up at 9:30, on a Saturday! You ate one of the bananas you regularly swipe from the dining hall, made a cup of tea or instant coffee, read two chapters of A Tale of Two Cities and made notecards for studying theories, dates, and vocabulary.
When your friends finally wake to text you, you’re up and ready to accompany them to the dining hall. When they spend the rest of Saturday recovering over reruns of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” you’re half-watching, half-reviewing your notecards. Then when they’re finally ready to be productive members of society, you can start working on a paper, or something else that requires quiet focus, and then take a nap!
Choose Your Socializing
Believe it or not, not every single college student parties at frats from Thursday to Sunday. There are dozens of different kinds of parties and social activities, so you shouldn’t feel like you have to spend every night in a sweaty, smelly basement drinking cheap beer and vodka Kool-Aid. Shake it up with dorm parties and flip cup, day hikes and Frisbee in the park, Dance Marathons and volunteering.
You don’t have to follow the crowd to the party to enjoy your weekend. It’s just as much fun to laugh your ass off in the quad on a Saturday afternoon, or to order pizza and watch movies on a Friday night. Diversify your friend groups so you can enjoy every kind of socializing there is, and then you’re more likely to remember the memories, and study the following day!
Image: Corey Seeman