Rehearsing for freshman year of college (op-ed)

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New students entering college next fall will face new and exciting times. They will also encounter challenges such as stress and anxiety. Students who manage their time effectively reduce stress and anxiety and earn better grades.

Parents can teach sons and daughters to discipline themselves regarding time-management now during the summer. A paper chart can assist students with this task. First, students list the days vertically down the left side and the hours of the day horizontally across the top. Second, students fill in the cells with their summer activities, such as, jobs, family activities (vacation), and so forth.

Parents can work with their sons and daughters by reviewing weekly how they did following their schedules. They can encourage them to make changes where needed. The charts will be different by the end of summer as activities change.

This activity is important because entering college for the first time can be chaotic for students. Students who develop the habit of managing their time effectively will have an easier time adjusting to college.

Once students attend orientation sessions and have their class schedules, they will be ready to put their summer time-management practice into action. Students must plan to study about two hours for every hour spent in class. This may seem overwhelming in the beginning for many students. First, students begin by filling in the cells in an Excel workbook or paper chart associated with the times their classes meet. Second, students fill in the cells associated with study hours for each course. Finally, times for the other activities associated with the college experience (e.g., club activities) are incorporated. This is a tentative schedule. Students will adjust their schedules weekly as the semester progresses.

Once students complete their charts and see their schedules on paper, they realize that their schedules are not overwhelming, but manageable. This benefit is the direct result of the discipline students developed during the summer. This practice also acts as a motivator. When students earn good grades because of this discipline and their hard work, they will be motivated to continue to follow their schedules.

C. Kevin Synnott teaches in the Department of Business Administration at Eastern Connecticut State University.

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