Students Should Make Time Work for Them, Catholic University Counseling Expert Says
1 June 1995
planning calendar with entry spaces for each hour of the day can be as valuable a back-to-school gift for college students as the latest computer equipment, says a psychologist at The Catholic University of America.
John Parkhurst finds that incoming freshmen used to the structured schedules of high school frequently need pointers on budgeting study and personal time in college.
Even students with top grades and test scores who have juggled part-time jobs with volunteer and social activities in high school may find time management a problem in college, says Parkhurst.
He coordinates Catholic University's academic tutoring and learning assistance service and offers the following pointers to undergraduates to achieve balance without burnout:
- Assess your work habits. Are you a consistent performer? Or do you work best under deadline pressure? What time of day are you most productive? When possible, schedule major study sessions for those hours.
- Map out the 168 hours in a week. Allot time for eating, sleeping, studying for quizzes, and doing laundry as well as your favorite activities like talking with friends at the student center, working out on the basketball or tennis court, attending religious services or tutoring grade-schoolers.
- List each day's activities in priority order. Break long-range assignments into smaller tasks. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of writing five 20-page research papers, divide the work into manageable segments. Set well-spaced deadlines for completing each stage, from locating reference materials to proofreading the final draft.
- Make every minute count. Use short breaks between classes to preview the next assignment for your toughest subject. If you walk by the library and have a half hour free, check the computerized database or card catalog for references for that report due next month. Commuters who use public transportation can spend travel time outlining textbook chapters or class notes.
- Be flexible. Allow for emergencies and interruptions, and schedule in fun time each day as a reward.
Parkhurst is available for interviews at 202-319-5765.
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