Classes, study time, meal time, social time, it seems like the day does not have enough hours for it all! Time management is one of the most important aspects of making it through college and sustaining good grades. Sometimes it seems impossible to complete this important planning process, but here are a few tips that might help you avoid filling your precious time with unnecessary filler so you can have time for the important activities:

Health is your Number One Priority

Don’t try to cram in studying you should have done weeks ago when an exam is just three days away. Cramming may cause you to skip meals and lose sleep and it is obviously hard to concentrate with a tired mind or an empty stomach. You get the dates for your exams weeks in advance; so schedule some time each day before the exam comes up–sometimes a week in advance–and take an hour or so to study the material at a time that won’t interrupt meal time or sleep time.

Stay Off the ‘Net

I know you get about 15 minutes into studying and think, “I wonder what my friends have tweeted about recently.” or “Oh, let me check who updated their status on Facebook.” Resist this temptation with all vigilance. Even though some educational material may cause you to yearn for some funny cat videos, you can’t let these take chunks of time out of your study time. You may tell yourself you’ll just watch one video, but the next thing you know you will be eating a bag of chips at 12 in the morning watching your 50th cat hitting itself. I find it best to simply not connect at all or if you have yet to break this habit, treat the video as a reward. Study for about 30 minutes, watch a video or check your tweets, then straight back to work. However, as a general rule when studying: Internet–disconnected, phone–off.

Restrict Socializing to Weekends

Sometimes I hear students bragging about all the partying they did on a Wednesday night and soon after commenting how they received a “D” on their assignments. Though partying during the week should be recognized as a poor decision, I assume from my experiences that this needs to be reiterated. Instead of skipping classes Thursday and Friday and partying until Sunday, attend all of your classes, use your study times, and finish your work by the end of Friday and then take a break. I personally see Sunday evening as a good day to get back to school work, however, try not to prolong your break so long that you find it difficult getting to class on Monday morning.

Be Responsible

Quite obviously, no one is going to put your schedule together for you. You have to be the one to take the initiative and write and plan out what the best times to study are, what distractions you should avoid and the best ways are to take care of yourself. On a side note, invest in a battery operated clock. Many students miss class because they depend on their phones to wake them up and often times the phones malfunction. It’s responsible to have a back-up plan when the first one fails.

Carmen Smith is a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University. She dreams of a career in the arts and has recently applied to the VCU School of the Arts where she plans to study graphic design. As a hobby, she enjoys creating various types of art. She also enjoys learning about her Christian faith, listening to popular Korean music, learning about Korean culture and language, studying French, singing, learning about American politics and following the political developments of the day.