Stephanie Carter is no stranger to time management. The Academic Center for Excellence and the Writing Center director assists many students who seek to strengthen this skill set so they can increase efficiency and productivity.
“A lot of students coming from high school haven't really had to develop time management skills to the level that they need them here at Bryant,” says Carter, adding that high school schedules are extremely regimented with back-to-back classes, and when students arrive at college their schedules have the illusion of being very open.
ACE helps students achieve their goals of academic success. Whether it's visiting a learning specialist for individualized assistance or dropping in for a group workshop on study skill development, the center has a myriad of offerings to support academic progress and find what learning and study strategies work best for each student.
Carter adds that time management becomes more important in later years as seasoned college students take on internships and campus leadership opportunities. To help develop this skill set, Carter offers these three tips.
1. Find an organizational system that works
Carter recommends students use a paper planner or organizational app to keep track of assignments and other obligations.
“It needs to be something students can commit to,” Carter says, adding that while it takes a few weeks to make planning a habit, students will usually feel confident managing their assignments once they’ve found a system that works for them.
Using the planner, students should first block off time for classes and club meetings and then look for times they can consistently reserve week-to-week to work on academics.
“We try to have them find 20 standing hours that, throughout the course of a week, they can amp up or down depending on how busy a certain week is,” Carter says, adding that these techniques are covered in ACE's workshops and learning specialist meetings, which are available to all students.
2. Conquer procrastination
Procrastination is a common obstacle for individuals to overcome. Carter recommends students learn to recognize when they’re avoiding work and actively try to change that behavior. She adds that most people are more productive when they study earlier in the day.
“Students should also identify places on campus where they can get their work done more productively,” Carter says.
Location can often make a difference in procrastination, according to Carter. For instance, completing assignments in a residence hall might not be the best work area since students use the space to relax and it ends up being a social space. Finding a quiet spot like the library, ACE, or another area may help boost productivity.
3. Ask for help
“We really try to reiterate to students that to be successful, people have to learn how to ask for help,” Carter says, adding that more than half of individuals who use ACE and the Writing Center are first-year students.
In Bryant’s new student success course, first-years tour ACE and learn about its offerings. Carter says she usually asks students to think of their most challenging class and reflect on ways ACE can support them in making their learning more efficient and effective.
“If math is your challenging subject, it might be that you want to do your homework in ACE’s math lab after class. That way, if you’re getting stuck on a problem, there's a tutor there who can help you work through it,” Carter says.