Taking Back Your Time: How to Manage Your Time in Your First Semester

Hey everyone! 

 As the beginning of your first year at Ohio State starts to come around in full swing, everything might start to feel very overwhelming. This rang true for me, as my first year didn’t result in academic success. I think the main reason behind my failure to succeed in my major (Zoology/Pre-Medicine) was that I did not manage my time well AT ALL. I had no system to keep track of my events and homework, and I didn’t make a responsible schedule for myself that balanced my free-time and what should have been study time. After finally making a thorough schedule the summer before my second-year, I realized how important it is to stay organized and manage the time I have responsibly. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing now without one. Below are some quick Why’s and How’s of organizing a busy schedule. 

 Why? 

I used to think that I wasn’t the type of person who benefited from a planner (or note-taking for that matter) but as the year rolled around, I quickly became overwhelmed in a futile attempt to keep up with everything. The fact of the matter is, you can’t remember everything on your own. In college, your schedule is almost entirely up to you and having some sort of event-organizing device is simply crucial to keeping sanity AND a balanced scheduled.     

 How? 

Okay, I might sound like a broken record, so how do you go about this practically? For those of you who’ve never needed to use a calendar or planner, it might be hard to start (it was for me). These are some ideas that might work for you: 

 Online Calendars: 

Google Calendar, iCloud Calendar, and Outlook Calendar are all great examples of free online calendars. This my personal first choice (I love Google Calendar). This offers an easy and simple way to color-code, have high accessibility (your phone is probably always on you), and I personally think it’s the least tedious option. Here’s an example of what one of my weeks looks like in Google Calendar: 

 

Physical Planner:  

For some, this is the best choice. Having a planner you can customize and hand-write in is a very appealing option (some studies show that handwriting improves memory). The only stipulation about these is that the nicer versions cost money, you have to write, and you’re not always going to have it.

 At the very least, a reminders app: 

Just having something to jot down quick reminders will improve your quality of life tenfold. 

I hope these few quick tips help get your first year off in an organized way!

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting…Your Second Year to be Different

You are nearing the end of your first year at Ohio State! You’re probably studying for finals, maybe figuring out your summer plans, or possibly thinking about your second year already. Whatever the case, I’m glad you are here, because I am going to share about how my second year was different than my first year.

As I returned to campus for my second year, my mindset was different than the previous year. This time around, I felt more confident and prepared. I knew the drill when it came to classes and living on campus. I had time to think about how to approach other aspects of my second year, like applying for my major, committing time to my involvement, and working an on-campus job. In my first year, the majority of my time and efforts was spent on academics; I didn’t have many other responsibilities. I was nervous to see how my new commitments fit in with my course load. I was approaching my second year with excitement and caution. I wanted to continue good standing in my classes, but I was also ready to take advantage of opportunities to help me grow outside the classroom. As I would learn over the course of second year, it is all about learning what’s important to you and finding a balance.

In my first year, I developed some habits that needed to be adjusted for success in my second year. Most of these habits were related to academics: where I studied, how I studied, and when I studied. I started to realize that I did not organize or structure my school work during my first year. This became a big problem for me at the start of my second year. My increased involvement and work forced me to re-evaluate my studying strategies. I learned that I needed to plan when I would work on homework or study for classes in order to do my best. For me, setting small goals for what I wanted to accomplish during a study session was very helpful. During my first year, it was nearly impossible for me to study in my room. I was constantly distracted and unmotivated when I found myself at my own desk. It was challenging for me to study in my room at the beginning of my second year, but I wanted to break that trend. By using my planning and goal-setting strategies, I learned to be disciplined and stay focused when studying in my room. These are just some ways that I have changed since my first year.

The biggest difference that I have seen between my first and second year at Ohio State is in how I spend my time. My first year was a stream of random events and occurrences that were squeezed in between my classes and homework. During my second year, I took time to think about what my priorities were and I ranked them in a top ten list. I then looked at my calendar for a given week and totaled the amount of time that I spent on each of those priorities. I was surprised to find that my priorities were disconnected from what I spent my time doing. I was motivated to change this and began thinking of ways that I could align my time with my priorities. Often you hear about time management skills and how important they are to success in college. I found that filtering my time through my priorities has been the best way to find a balance for my time. I was able to fully invest in my job and involvement while staying on top of my studies, and most importantly, I enjoyed what I was doing.

Your second year isn’t bound to look like mine, but I hope you found my experience helpful. My best advice to you is to reflect on your first year. Think about what you learned and how you grew as a student. I encourage you to think about how your second year might look different and what you can do to prepare yourself. I didn’t think very much about how my second year would go. Take advantage of the opportunity that you have to form some second year expectations and how you will approach reaching your goals, it will serve you well.

13 Apps you NEED for College!

Walk into many college classroom, and what do you see? Other than paper, pencils, or textbooks, today’s lecture halls are filled with a large assortment of smart phones, tablets, and laptops. There’s the student with the Macbook on Pinterest, or the one texting on his Samsung Galaxy, or the group in the back huddled around an Asus tablet watching highlights from last night’s game.

Let’s face it: gadgets we may have purchased with graduation money to help with our “studies” may now be doing more evil than good; however, it is possible to transform your “iLikeToProcrastinate” 5s into your own personal assistant with these must-have apps for college students.

1. IStudiez

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Let this app revolutionize the way you stay organized! This virtual planner, compatible with any Mac device, iCal and Cloud, will keep track of your assignments, deadlines, and even grades! Just plug in your class times. This app is $2.99 for iOS, but has a free light version.

2. StudyBlue

Sick of carrying that huge stack of notecards with you all over campus? Study Blue allows you to create thousands of cards, using not only words, but photos and audio as well! You can even borrow set of already-made cards from a friend! Free for iOS and Android.

3. Evernote

This app is the best of the best for note taking in class. Amp up your class notes by adding pictures, videos, audio and embedded URL’s! The features on this app are endless, and sure to please those who obsess over “pretty notes.” Free for iOS and Android.

4. Studious

Not only does this app help you organize class times, deadlines and exam days, but it also acts as your personal back up! No need to worry if you put your phone on silent when you walked into class, Studious will automatically silence it according to when you set your class times! Free for Android.

5. Self Control

When you’re faced with writing that final paper, everything else on the planet suddenly becomes more interesting. Kill procrastination with Self Control, the app that temporarily adds websites you select to a “blacklist” that prevents you from viewing them for however long you decide! BuzzFeed won’t win this time…(free for Mac OS X)

6. EasyBib

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The website many of us cherished in high school has come to save us again with this easy to use app! Simply scan the barcode of the book, or enter the title, and EasyBib will input the necessary information! Yes, EasyBib really did just get easier. Free for iOS and Android.

7. Chegg

No need to break the bank this semester (or any for that matter); let Chegg help you find the best deals on textbook rentals! Just type in a title or ISBN number, and if Chegg has it, you’re ready to order! Free for iOS and Android.

8. IFTTT

IFTTT, also known as “If This Then That,” is literally your virtual assistant. Want to receive a text when the temperature drops below 32 degrees? Want all photos tagged of you on Facebook to transfer to your phone album? This app has plenty of these “recipes” to choose from, or you can create your own! Free for iOS and Android.

9. Sleep If You Can

Some of us need a little more help than others when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning. For all you snooze button enthusiasts, this app can make sure you actually get to your 8 a.m. class on time. In order to dismiss the alarm, you must take a picture of something (like you bathroom sink). This gets you out of bed, and on your way! $1.99 for iOS and free for Android.

10. Circle of Six

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Staying with a group when going out for the evening is always the safest route. However, it’s possible to be separated, and if you do, you need to stay protected. Circle of 6 allows you to pick 6 friends to whom you can ask to pick you up (it gives them a GPS location), to call and create an interruption for you, and much more! Free for iOS and Android.

11. Mint

Trying to create a budget, let alone stick with it, can be a monumental task for college students. Mint is an app that syncs all of your checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards to one place so you can monitor your spending! Create spending limits for food, clothes, or utilities and categorize every expense with one of their many tags! Secured with bank-level security. Free for iOS and Android.

12. Venmo

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Always messing around with cash to try and pay back this friend for a pizza, or your roommate for the cable bill? Simplify your life with Venmo. This app also syncs with your bank account, and allows you to digitally transfer funds to others, regardless of the bank they use! Also secured with bank level security. Free for iOS and Android.

13. My Fitness Pal

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Being fit has never been so easy with My Fitness Pal! Simply input your weight and height, how much weight you would like to lose, if any, and start tracking! Healthy eating is a breeze with the barcode scan feature, which allows you to easily count calories during the day! You can also input exercise, weight updates, and much more! Free for iOS and Android.

29 Bits of Wisdom For Your First Year

Before you move onto campus in about a month, think about what you want out of your Ohio State experience and let these bits of wisdom help you create an amazing first year.

1. Never let Facebook be the ultimate judge of someone’s character | Do not believe everything you see. Just because someone lives (or posts) differently than you does not mean he or she will be a bad person.

2. Sleep is so, so good | It’s important to take care of yourself. All-nighters will not help you pass an exam because in reality, the majority of the time you will be too tired to think straight.

3. Focus on being a good roommate, not a best friend | Concern yourself with being a considerate roommate and don’t expect to be his or her best friend. You can still be good roommates and have a great living experience together if you’re simply respectful and courteous.

4. Communicate | With roommates this is especially important. Nothing will ever get resolved unless you have honest and open discussions.

5. Get to know your professors | They are here to help you learn and grow. Talk to them and ask for help.

6. Don’t do laundry on Sunday night | Try selecting a different day and time when more machines are available.

7. Bring an umbrella.

8. Ask for help | There are so many people at Ohio State that want to make your experience amazing. Help is available, just ask!

9. Be yourself! | Why be someone else when you can be you?

10. Surround yourself with great people that will push you to your best, celebrate you, and pick you up when you are down.

11. Call home.

12. Wash your bedding/sheets and blankets.

13. Meet new people | People want to make friends but are often too scared to make the effort.

14. Keep your Facebook appropriate | It’s the world wide web, y’all.

15. Don’t leave your belongings unattended | They may not be there when you return.

16. Let yourself be a first year student | Your first year of college will be amazing and full of fun programs, just for you.

17. Take pictures.

18. Be smart with money | Create a plan and stick to it! The Wellness Center in the RPAC can help you!

19. Stay healthy | Watch what you eat and go to the gym (great stress relief, too!).

20. Reflect daily | Make sure you are making an effort to stay on track with physical, mental and emotional health. Do not let a breakdown be your first indicator.

21. Do not let stereotypes decide your feelings about people | People will surprise you in both good ways and bad.

22. Take time to be alone | You will need the time to decompress and chill.

23. It is okay to go to a dining hall and eat alone.

24. Cheer for the Buckeyes | Whether in athletics, residence halls, or our classes – be there to support your team and your entire community. We are all in this together.

25. Check your syllabi | Keep track of your assignments because your professors will not always remind you about them.

26. Get an agenda/planner/calendar | It will help you keep track of your life and help you manage your time.

27. Be silly | Get out there and be awesome! Order pancakes, chicken fingers, and a milkshake at Sloopy’s every so often, talk to the people in your class, and dance like there is no tomorrow!

28. “Don’t be scared to walk alone, don’t be scared to like it” | This lovely lyric from John Mayer speaks volumes. You are more independent at college and have the opportunity to do what makes you happy and study what interests you. Be your own person and don’t be afraid of the changes you will make in your life (for the better of course).

29. You decide your experience | Make wise choices and be all that you want to be. Don’t wait for something amazing to happen to you, go make it happen yourself.

Stay tuned for July 14 when Brandon will write about 31 Ways Your First Year is Like Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream!

My First Year Was Successful Because…

So, the end of your first year at Ohio State is winding down and there are only three weeks left to go before you are no longer considered a first year student. What do you have to show for it? What have you learned? My first year was a year of growth and development. I learned more about myself in that one year than I had in all of my four years of high school and I am thankful for what I learned. After I finished my last exam of spring semester, I took some time to reflect and realized that my year was wildly successful because…

I knew my professors’ names and had personally conversed with them. Approaching professors can be intimidating and in the midst of your busy semester you wonder if it is really worth your time to get to know your professors. It is. Your professors are some of the best resources on campus. They have a wealth of knowledge and are so excited to share their ideas! Professors are here to fill our minds with more knowledge than we can imagine and want to help us grow as students.

I could go the RPAC alone. In my first semester I was afraid to go most places on campus alone because, frankly, I thought I would get lost and because I never wanted to be lonely. However, there came a time when I was ready to go places on my own time. Being confident in my ability to navigate the campus effectively and take time for myself is a skill that I am thankful I learned.

I found a major that helped me find my passion. During my first semester I changed my major, and it was one of the best decisions I made at Ohio State. Not only did I find a major that I enjoyed, but I also found a major that helped me discover ways to further develop my interests and find my true niche.

I learned how to manage my time. It was always a sad day to realize that I had 60 pages of a textbook that needed to be read before my next class. With a packed schedule of going to class, student organization meetings, papers, midterms, and napping, it is difficult to find time to accomplish everything in one day. By the end of my first year I had developed a way to schedule time to study, go to class, and nap. Figuring out how to use my time wisely made my goals attainable.

I was exhausted. By the end of my first year, I was mentally and physically exhausted. My brain hurt from the amount of knowledge I obtained and I was too tired to function from all of the late nights study sessions and life talks with my roommates. I never got much sleep, but I never regretted an extra minute of studying or conversing with people on my floor.

I found my inner Buckeye. By the end of my first year I had finally learned all of the words to Carmen Ohio and the Buckeye Battle Cry. After sitting with thousands of my friends at football games, I learned the words to the point where I could participate for each song. Cheering on the Buckeyes is a top priority and learning how to sing along made me feel more connected to other students and the University.

I wanted to come back. When my parents came to pick me up after my last final, the first thing I wanted to do was go straight back to Ohio State. My first year was so much more than I thought it would ever be and I was so thankful for the great year Ohio State gave me. Before I returned home for the summer, I already could not wait to get back to Ohio State to learn more, meet more people, and further develop the amazing friendships I had made. I fell in love with Ohio State my first year and I could not wait to return the following year to have another amazing year.                                                                                                                                                                              

TvaEzxv 

Avoiding a Spring Semester Slump

It’s about that time in the semester (and mid-polar vortex) that you want to permanently apply sweatpants to your body and never leave your bed, right? WELL THAT’S JUST TOO DARN BAD! There are classes to attend, opportunities to explore and new friends to be made! You can’t spend spring semester snoozing away!

So now that you think that I am way too perky to handle, let’s get back to reality. It’s cold, life sucks and it’s hard to remember what motivation feels like. I know. The struggle of getting out of bed when it is -8° and feels like -10,000° is so real. But Buckeyes, you must persevere! Spring semester is simply Round 2 of your first year and so important for you to be fully engaged. Don’t lose your motivation to succeed and explore the amazing university that you call your home.

5 Easy Tips to Stay Motivated

1)      Set Small Goals

Imagine what you want to have accomplished by the end of your first year as a Buckeye. Is that making the Dean’s List, figuring out the right major for you or becoming involved in one organization? Going back to the cold, maybe that means not skipping those 8 a.m. classes all semester…14 weeks of 8 a.m.classes…

Once you’ve got that, break it down into smaller goals that you can achieve on your way to the big one! Maybe that means going to one prof’s office hours each week, emailing two clubs to find out more information or only letting yourself hit snooze once per morning. Celebrate the accomplishments of these small goals!

2)      Organize Your Time

Organization is key to being a successful Buckeye, so put some effort into organizing your schedule! Having that Dates & Data planner written out each week prevents those last-minute panics of forgetting assignments or missing that awesome OUAB event that you heard about. Perhaps you didn’t plan time to hang out with your new friends or workout and now you’re feeling some major blues.

Just think how many calories I could burn if I exercised as much as I pin!

Organizing your time into a healthy work-play balance will keep that stress level down and on-track for an awesome semester!

3)      Find Inspiration

Sometimes it may feel like you’re slogging through your week-to-week schedule, but remember the reasons why you came to Ohio State in the first place. Most people had multiple goals: obtain that college degree, branch out on your own, make new friends, the list goes on. Be sure to remember the inspiration that will carry you through this semester and remember the big picture! And hey, if you wanna do some daily affirmations in the mirror just make sure no one else is listening at the bathroom door.

Red Dot | Cat Meme

4)      Develop a Support Group

As Buckeyes, we’re all part of a BIG family. We crave social support to lead happy lives and our friends and family can be that support system! Forming study groups in your classes or recruiting that one friend on your floor to join you once a week at the RPAC spinning class will help give you that extra motivation to achieve your goals. Besides, doesn’t it feel good to know that someone actually cares when they ask you how you’re doing today?

5)      Believe in Yourself

Finally, believe in yourself! Buckeyes are all here for a reason. Someone believed that you could go to Ohio State and be successful. Maybe that was a parent, high school teacher or even one of our admissions officers. Take their confidence and instill it into your little Scarlet & Gray heart!

You CAN stay motivated and finish out your first year as a Buckeye to make it the best it can be. Believe that you alone have the power to take this experience to new heights – besides, everyone else can only dream about how great it is to be a Buckeye. You actually get to live it. Don’t hate us cuz we go to the Best Damn School in the Land.

Sorry not sorry.