How to beat college

Jessica Whitman

Enrolling in college in my 30s, I knew I was going to face challenges. I knew I needed to work while in school, and I understood that doing this was going to add stress to my home life in terms of spending time with my husband and children. But I also knew, in the end, it would all be worth it.

The key to successfully juggling school, work, and home life? There isn’t one. But I can divulge a few of my own tips for (mostly) keeping myself sane, and still having fun, while I’m on this journey. Hopefully, some readers will find them useful also.

First and foremost, keep a planner. Whether it is a big calendar on the wall, one on your laptop, or one on your phone, use it to keep track of assignment due dates, club meetings, date nights, study times, and whatever else you have in your busy life.

Try using different colors for different items, such as blue for homework and red for test dates. Personalize it to fit you best.

Second, don’t procrastinate. It’s true that once you begin to fall behind, it is next to impossible to catch back up. Work hard to get your assignments done on time, if not early. If you have time to work ahead, do it.

Third, set priorities. You came to college to further your education, and sometimes your social life will suffer and that’s normal. Set aside time to spend with friends and family.

They are also a priority. You can’t alienate them all semester. But, trust me, they will understand if you need to cancel on a night out or a picnic because you need to study or write a paper.

Fourth, GET SLEEP. I cannot stress this enough. Sleep is vital to your overall well-being. It improves your entire body and mind. You might not get an solid eight hours every night, but don’t make a habit of studying until 2 a.m. when you have an 8 a.m. class.

Lastly, the most important piece of information I can impart. Buy popsicles or frozen fruit bars. Trust me. Homework can cause stress. It is almost impossible to stress out while eating a popsicle. It’s like trying to angrily say the word “bubbles.” It just can’t be done. On the occasion you do end up burning the midnight oil, these will give you a quick perk-up. Plus, they are generally healthier than coffee or energy drinks.

Use these tips to help make your time more enjoyable. No one wants to look back at their time in college and hate the fact that they were always scrambling to get things done on time. Where’s the fun in that?