Word to the wise: Make sure you prioritize

Word to the wise: Make sure you prioritize

Aelsa Butler, Co Editor-In-Chief

It’s February of the spring semester. You have been in school again now for about four weeks; gotten through a test or two, have finally settled your schedule and can no longer use “I got lost in A-Building” as an excuse for being ten minutes late to class.

You also may be on your third or fourth or tenth all-nighter and getting your meagre sustenance from Monsters and Bosco sticks.

If you are now asking yourself “why are you like this?” and are wondering if there’s any hope for your semester, read on. There is hope. The advice that follows is collected from multiple students, both IVCC students and those who have gone on to universities.

Firstly, students need sleep. Up to nine or ten hours of it.

Yet, on average, college students get a mere six hours of sleep a night. There are many reasons for this, the most responsible of which is the need to complete homework. Many college students are also working jobs which cut into their time for studying and sleeping.

However, if we’re being honest, we all know that the Friday night parties and Saturday trips to the mall play a role in our lack of time, too.

To cope with the demands of time on your life, schedule and prioritize, in this order: sleep, school/ homework, work, play.

It may seem counter to everything you know about life to schedule sleep first, but the more we learn about sleep, the more we’ve learned it should be a priority. Without sleep, your immune system will suffer, your energy will dissipate, and your brain will lack focus.

In other words, without sleep, you will not be able to do school well. In your planners, literally schedule at least seven hours of sleep a night.

If your class or work schedule makes this impossible, find a time during the day to take a nap. After you’ve done this, earmark time for homework between school and work and stick with it.

Time left over after all of this is available for fun and hanging out with your friends.

As hard as it might be, try restricting social activities to one day a week—Saturday or Sunday, for example, but not both. If you ask around, seasoned college students are more than happy to offer suggestions, too.

IVCC Peer Tutor Ken Murphy says that students should buy and use a planner. His system includes a notebook where he outlines his upcoming tasks in checklist form.

He aims for completion of at least two major tasks or assignments a day and doesn’t worry too much if there are a few things on the list he doesn’t get to, as long as he accomplishes at least two.

Honors student and Phi Theta Kappa president Trevor Finnan points out that it’s very important to be on good terms with your teachers and not tick them off.

“They’re in charge of your grade,” he says, “and can give you a B even if you have a 93 in the class.”

Beyond just keeping the peace, consider developing at least one strong relationship with a faculty member. Their mentorship and guidance will be invaluable.

Besides, most scholarships also require a faculty recommendation letter and you will want a good one.

Simon Tiffin, who took some of his general education classes through IVCC, is now a student at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

His recommendations were especially for students getting ready to transition to university life, but included one almost universal suggestion: if you drink coffee, make a coffee budget.

In fact, students should do this for anything they spend money on, but especially food, gas, and treats (or, in the case of coffee, liquid survival).

College is hard enough; taking care of yourself, planning tasks, building relationships, and using your resources wisely will take some forethought but will make your experience ultimately happier and healthier.