Time management is one of college students’ biggest challenges, so we asked success coaches at St. Edward’s for the best way to navigate as students nationwide transition to remote learning.
By now, you’ve developed a regular schedule for your life at college. You’re in class most of the day; then you go to a club meeting or a job, and then you go home and do homework.
Back at home — or in your apartment — the structure of your days has suddenly changed. At home, your family may have activities and expectations that shape how you spend your time. Or, if you’re living by yourself, your schedule may now be completely open. The key to successful remote learning is managing your own time — and for St. Edward’s students, your success coach can help.
“Time management is one of students’ biggest adjustments,” says Claudia Briseno-Chavez, a success coach at St. Edward’s. “We help them design strategies to balance their schedule in a way that works for them.”
Time management advice often focuses on specific, concrete actions: Use a planner. Make a to-do list. Budget two hours of studying for every hour in the classroom. Don’t procrastinate.
They’re all good ideas — but they don’t work for every person, says Mary Culkin, director of academic success. The world’s most beautiful paper planner won’t help you if you’re a digital person at heart. Because your success coach knows you as an individual, he or she can help you figure out your own personal time management style.
“We see ourselves as a partner with students — not a counselor and not an advisor,” says Culkin. “We’re going to help you design a road map for your journey. We walk with you. We know more about the university, but you know more about yourself.”
One important question that success coaches always ask: What are your priorities?
“Prioritization is about what you want to give time and value, and that’s different for everybody,” says success coach Cameron Tepper. “Part of the game is finding out what’s important to you, the student. Are you comfortable getting a C in class? If that’s OK with you, then, where do you want to spend your other time? If you want to make a 4.0, then let’s figure out how to arrange your schedule so you’ve allocated enough time to academics. Everybody’s goal is different, and what we do as success coaches is support you and help you along that path.”
Once you’ve identified your priorities, you and your coach can talk about specific time management strategies. Yes, you should definitely use a planner. But what kind will actually work for you?
“If the student really like using their phone, we can try that,” Tepper says. “If they realize they work better with paper, we’ll talk more about that. We’re very flexible and adaptable — we build a connection and a relationship with the student so we can partner with them to find the best approach.”
Your conversations with your success coach may touch on bigger issues that influence time management — and your coach can support you as you navigate them. For example, in times of uncertainty, exercise and sleep may be top priorities. Some students need help managing their relationship with social media and the news. Your coach won’t tell you what to do but will be a sounding board as you figure out how to make the best decisions and find balance.
At the end of the day, time management is about making smart choices — and learning how to self-regulate. That could mean choosing to study instead of watch “one more” episode on Netflix; stopping work at a certain time to go to bed; or even turning off alerts so you’re not tempted to check your phone every few minutes. Self-regulation and discipline are skills you’ll need for the rest of your life, and will serve you particularly well during this time. Your success coach will help you find the techniques that work for you, so you can build habits during college that support you in the professional world and adulting in general.
“When people talk about time management, they think there’s a one-size-fits all,” says success coach Dina Mireles. “But for us, it’s about being in relationship with the student and being that student’s guide through college. And every student’s journey is different.”