Are you headed back to college this fall? It might be time to start thinking about your schedule and routine for the upcoming semester. You’re going to want to create a schedule for yourself full of your classes, extracurriculars, and social events. But it’s also important to avoid overload and burnout, so follow our tips for creating a balanced college schedule.
Figure out what you want in your college schedule
College grants you a lot more flexibility than high school, so you might find yourself with much more time on your hands. Instead of attending classes from 8am to 3pm every day, you can actually choose when you go to class. While some classes are only offered during specific times, leaving you with little choice, others can be scheduled for your ideal time periods. If you know that you focus well in the morning, aim to schedule most of your classes before noon. If you like to hang out with friends in the evening or night, try to plan social events for later in the day.
Do your research
Once you’ve given your preferences some thought, head over to your college’s class catalog to browse the course offerings for the semester. Make a list of your top class choices, including any general education and major requirements. Don’t forget to leave a spot or two for a class that you’ll really enjoy! You might find that some of your preferences conflict. Maybe your favorite professor is teaching a class late in the evening, and you like to take classes in the morning. Weigh your priorities, but remember that your mental and physical health should come first when crafting your ideal schedule.
Balance is key for a healthy schedule
Browsing your course catalog can feel overwhelming – there are so many cool classes to choose from! To narrow down your options, try to find some balance in your schedule. Take classes throughout the week, instead of stacking them all on one day. Make room to take breaks to eat meals, exercise, and rest. If you have a series of difficult classes required for your major, spread them out across semesters. Additionally, be sure to balance your academic courses with extracurriculars, social events, and time for self care. It can be difficult to know when these activities will take place before you’ve even arrived on campus, so for now, just leave substantial space in your schedule to enjoy yourself.
Learn from others
Still not sure where to start with your college schedule? Talk to others who have been in your shoes before. Reach out to current students or fellow incoming students over social media and email to get a feel for their plans. You can ask what classes they’ve enjoyed, their favorite professors, or for details about extracurriculars that you’re interested in. Current students are happy to provide support to new students. You’ll feel even more prepared for next semester with a little bit of expert guidance.
At the end of the day, there might not be such a thing as a “perfect” college schedule. In fact, a huge part of college is about learning what works for you and what doesn’t. If this is the first time that you’re living on your own, it’s going to take some time to feel comfortable and relaxed. And if next semester’s schedule isn’t perfect, you can make changes in future semesters to craft a college routine that fits your needs and desires. As you learn what works for you, just remember to carve out time and space for your own self care.