How to Get Good Grades While Managing a Busy Schedule

College can be a very difficult experience no matter what kind of schedule you have, and it can be even harder if you are juggling a lot of extra activities on top of classes. Last year, I worked very hard to balance my busy schedule while still maintaining good grades. Here are some tips and tricks that I used and found to be helpful!

As much as we wish, we won’t be able to accomplish everything we want to do. Sometimes we are going to have to choose between certain things because they overlap or we are at a loss of time. Before you begin anything, write down everything you have to do, and then write them in order from what you believe to be most important to least important. For me, my education has always come first and that would be my number one. Then, my next two priorities are clubs and research. Prioritizing helped because if I had something like a test on Monday and a club activity the day before, I would study instead of attend the club activity. I wish I could do both, but since I cannot I choose the one that is higher on my priority list.

Keep a Planner & Plan Everything.
The first step you want to do is once you have joined the clubs, gotten the internship, or started classes, write everything that is due, or has to be done, down on your planner. It is a terrible idea to only plan week to week if you have a ton of futuristic information at hand. You don’t want to miss anything, and this step will help you prevent that from happening. I also like to color code my activities in my planner according to my priority list. That way I know what needs to be done first each day.

Don’t Procrastinate.
While this step may be difficult, depending how bad this habit is for you, it is a huge necessity if you are someone with a really busy schedule. No matter how on schedule you are, something will go wrong eventually. It is important not only have everything that is due done by the due date, but also done in advance. You need to give yourself a little room for error just in case anything unexpected were to happen.

Make Sure You Still Take Time for Yourself.
It is important to avoid burn out at all costs. If you have a lot on your plate, you may be more prone to burn out compared to your fellow classmates. An easy way to prevent, or at least postpone, burn out is by scheduling time for yourself. You need to write on your planner which day you will dedicate to you and only you. Sometimes, if you’re very busy, you may find that you are not able to dedicate a whole day to yourself, but, at the minimum, a few hours a week needs to be spent on yourself. For me, I tried to make sure the weekend was my time to do whatever I wanted which may be shopping, getting a pedicure, or having a movie day. Just remember to take time for yourself and recharge your body and mind.

Find Your Own Routine.
Not only is it important to find a routine and stick to it, but it is important to find your own routine. Keep in mind that something that may work for someone else may not work for you. For me, I am a morning person, so I could easily get up at 6 am to get ahead on homework, studying, or getting my workout in for the day before my classes started. Sometimes I would be in bed at 9 pm, and normally I would be in bed by 11 pm. However, there were some nights where I was so busy that I had to stay up until 2 am. But the point is, I made a routine I could easily do, and if there were some occasion that interrupted my routine, maybe something that kept me up until 2 am, it wouldn’t be a huge deal because I was content with my normal routine for the following day. While I might dread having only four hours of sleep, I wouldn’t be dreading the routine for the following day. It is very difficult to follow a routine that doesn’t fit with who you are. My friends are all night owls and if I followed their schedules, I may not only be behind on my school work because I hate staying up late, but I may also be cranky because I would be forcing a routine on to myself that is not correct for me.