From the moment incoming college freshman step onto campus, they enter a world where the expectations are higher. The social scene and comfort zone of high school life are long forgotten, and they must now soak in more information than ever before while laying the groundwork for a successful career post-college.
A U.S. Census report determined that 71 percent of the 19.7 million college undergraduates in the U.S. were working in 2011 and of that number, one in five undergrads were working at least 35 hours a week year-round. Combined with the pressure to have a once-in-a-lifetime college experience, students must quickly learn how to balance it all.
“When you know what you want, you realize that all there is left then is time management. You’ll manage your time to achieve your goals because you clearly know what you’re trying to achieve in your life.”
– Patch Adams
Here are five ways college students can strike a healthy balance between studying, friends and career planning:
- Prioritize: You will quickly learn that you can’t do it all, so list in order of importance the items that you need to complete on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Tackle the most important items first to ensure you produce your best quality work.
- Manage your calendar: If you didn’t learn this skill in high school, now is the time. Whether it’s a smartphone or a paper calendar, tracking your group meetings, sports practices and internship hours is crucial to staying organized now and in your future career.
- Take care of yourself: You’ll likely need to pull an all-nighter at least once, but overall, ensure you’re getting a full night of sleep and eating more than just take-out. When you feel your best, you’ll do your best at work and at school.
- Set goals: See your college experience as an opportunity to prepare for the real world in a controlled setting. Set specific and measurable short- and long-term goals, like completing Dardis’ professional training program.
- Indulge (within reason): All work and no play will lead to regrets after graduation. Take breaks from studying to cheer at the football game and get a few hours of extra sleep on the weekends, but always keep your focus on your goals for college and beyond.
Living in the present while planning for the future can be a daunting task for any student, but by balancing each aspect of the college experience, young business professionals will enter the real world with the tools they need to succeed.
Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr.