You may be surprised when you start university at just how heavy your workload is. If you’re also trying to manage other commitments (such as a part-time job, extracurriculars, or even just an active social life), you could find that you struggle to fit everything into your schedule. However, just managing your time better can go a long way toward helping you cope.
Here are some strategies to consider.
1. Skim Readings Whenever Possible
Instead of reading every text in depth, skim them to find the important parts. If you own the books, you can highlight sections and return later to read them in more depth. Alternatively, you could mark pages with sticky notes or write down page numbers in your notes.
2. Develop a Shorthand for Note-Taking
Taking notes is essential, but it can be time consuming, even if you write or type fast. Spend less time on note-taking by summarizing just the key information, and avoid writing in full sentences. To shorten your notes further, use abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols — just make sure you’ll understand what you meant later. To avoid confusion, consider creating a reference key.
3. Reduce Distractions
Tell the people you live with not to disturb you at certain times of the day to fully focus on your studies. Turn off push notifications on your phone and fight the urge to check social media or do anything unrelated to your schoolwork. Whenever possible, you may even like to turn off the internet on your laptop.
4. Ask for More Flexibility from Your Job
If you have a part-time job, talk to your employer about your difficulties balancing work and studies to see if you can come to an arrangement for a more reasonable schedule. You may be able to receive certain hours off or reduce the length of your shifts to free up more time for your studies. In addition, it may be possible to receive time off when you have a big assignment due or right before an important test, provided you tell your employer in advance.
5. Study Fewer Credits Each Semester
It’s tempting to try and graduate as early as possible, but you’ll only be hurting your grades and making yourself stressed if you take on more classes than you can handle. If you try all the above and you’re still struggling to cope with the heavy workload, the solution is to take one or two less courses. There may still be time to drop a class without consequences. Otherwise, you’ll need to use this semester as a learning experience and take less next time.
If you’re unsure what you can handle, talk to an academic advisor about which courses have the lightest and heaviest workloads. Together, you can determine when would be the best time to take your required classes and which electives are likely to best suit your schedule.
You’ll find it much easier to manage a heavy workload if you have a place where you can study in peace. For this reason, many university students move out of dorms after their first year and into apartments. If you’re looking for rooms for rent in Kingston, Ontario, there’s Foundry Mack.
You’ll gain the full university experience by living in a student community, but you’ll also have your own private bedroom. Join our waitlist to be the first to hear when a suite becomes available.