I am a first year student[,] and I’m struggling to make time for my homework, sports team, and friends. How can I better manage my time?
As a student-athlete, I get it. Twenty-four hours is limited time when you are committed to playing a sport, but don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of things you can do to effectively manage your time.
First things first, you need to get your hands on a planner.
They are sold for $6.98 in the bookstore; I’m not really sure why they don’t just round up to 7 dollars, but hey it’s cheap nonetheless. Next, find your syllabus for each class, your practice/game schedule and the schedule of anything else you are involved in. Write down everything. It’s going to take some time, but put on your Spotify, crank some tunes and get busy planning. You’ll thank yourself later. While you look at the hell you’re about to go through, just remember that everything is completely doable. Use your planner as a way to keep yourself organized and ready for what’s to come. The more prepared you are the better.
Do your homework in advance.
Senior lacrosse player Brad Bogus said, “It helps to get things done a lot sooner, before your two-a-days or your practices stack up and you don’t have time to do it the day before.” If you have some downtime during the day, instead of napping, use that time to start writing a paper or get some reading in. Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Autumn Haggadone said, “I was a student-athlete here at Albion, and for me it was always about getting things done before practice so I didn’t have to worry about it later.” What’s the plus side of doing that? At night you’ll be free to hang with your friends.
Set 10 minutes aside each day to sit down and do nothing.
Don’t check your phone. Don’t watch Netflix. Don’t talk to people. Just sit down and be a person for 10 minutes. Pico Iyer, author of The Art of Stillness, writes in his special guest article for CNN, “All of us are feeling scattered and distracted as we try to keep up with an accelerating world. But nearly all of us have an answer in our hands, in simply choosing to do nothing and go nowhere for a while.” He explains that, “We need at times to step away from our lives in order to put them in perspective. Especially if we wish to be productive.” If you want to be a successful athlete, student and friend you have to give yourself time to do nothing. Going, going and going will get you nowhere. Take little stops along the way if you want to preserve your sanity.
Make plans with your friends at places around Albion.
Hang out on the quad, take a walk to Victory Park, grab smoothies at Biggby or eat subs at Gina’s. These options will give you a chance to take a study break while still being close to campus. If you can’t manage time to take these breaks, junior basketball player, Oreyana Curry, advises to “use your sport as your study break.” Escape from the stress and enjoy being with your teammates. As a senior, Bogus understands that his time as a student-athlete is limited. “You’re here for four years, so enjoy your sporting career while you can.”.
Remember that you are a student first and athlete second.
“A student-athlete has to figure out what their priorities are,” Senior Athletic Director, Matt Arend said. “If they’re not doing well in the classroom, they’re not going to have a social life here; they’re not going to be able to be a student-athlete.” If you are struggling in school make sure you reach out to your coach, professors and the Academic Skills Center. There are so many different avenues for seeking help, but it’s up to you to take advantage of them.
At the end of the day, you have to find a way to put your academics first. The point of going to college is to learn new things and gain an education. Be prepared to make sacrifices, but also give yourself time to enjoy life. Experiences outside the classroom are just as important.
Photo by Albion Communications Department