Hi everyone! It’s Josh here again. We’re a week and a half into our spring semester here at Princeton. It still feels weird going to my new classes since I had gotten so used to my daily routine from last semester. It doesn’t help that now the college swimming season has wrapped up for me, I am not training much for two more weeks. I knew that swimming took up a lot of my time, but I didn’t think it would make this much of a difference to cut down on my training!
As many of my friends can probably attest, the first semester here gave us a valuable learning experience for how to spend the rest of the three and a half years at Princeton. With 12 weeks of class under our belt, I think we have enough personal experience to start making our next few semesters more productive and more enjoyable. Today I’d like to focus on one of the things I want to improve this semester – time management.
I think I’ve mentioned this as one of my weaknesses in a previous post, but I had a tough time managing my time and work. While it wasn’t too bad in the second half of the semester, I really struggled with this in the first half. I’d rather not feel like a waste of life every time I have multiple assignments due the next day, so starting the second semester off right is really something I want to try and do. The two ways in which I intend to do this is by 1) playing around with my classes 2) using the limited time I have efficiently.
The new (and improved?) weekly schedule
So here is my new class schedule compared to my old one! Instead of four classes, I’m now taking five classes, as is recommended/required to earn a BSE degree here.
(left: Fall schedule, right: Spring schedule)
I think one reason why I had a hard time in the fall was because I had multiple small chunks of time throughout the day. It may not be apparent from the screenshots, but on most days I had multiple small 1-hour chunks of time. Now I agree an hour is plenty of time to do work, it wasn’t really enough time to get anything done. I realized that I tend to work better in longer chunks of time, with the freedom to take breaks as I feel the need to. Instead of having to leave for class or practice just as I was getting into the rhythm doing something, I would continue to work until my momentum runs out, where I will take a break.
I tried to fix this by clustering all my classes into certain times of the day: right after morning practice, and right before afternoon practice. Also no night classes! My 80 minute writing seminar at 7pm was always tiring after a long day of school and training. More importantly, it ate into the valuable big chunk of free time I had at night to work on academics. While there are still gaps here and there that I can’t fix because of how classes are, I have made myself bigger chunks of time, especially on Monday/Wednesday nights and Tuesday/Thursday mornings.
The funny thing is, the amount of time I’m in class doesn’t seem to change, since I have 16 hours of class a week in both semesters. There is only the illusion of more time, so we’ll see what I make of that over the coming weeks…
Out to explore campus
The second aspect of improving time management is using the time I have more efficiently. I have always wanted to go to McGraw Learning Center to do a learning consultation, where a trained student helps you find methods that you can use to study more efficiently. I have already filled out the one of the forms needed to sign up for one, so all I have to do is find some time and actually sign up!
Taking classes in new parts of campus this past week also made me realize the abundance of study spots that I had not been using. Last semester I went to places like J Street in the Wilson College area on a regular basis in the morning between practice and math class, but I did a huge portion of my work in my room. I may try and look around and find a place or two where I can work more productively (being in my room can be distracting at times!).
I’ve already started looking around, and just recently went to the top of New South building to study before my history lecture. Who knew that you could overlook the campus from here?