One thing that’s become particularly evident to me this semester has been the drastic changes needed to my time management methods. I’ve heard from other first years that they too have had to adjust to new work habits, regardless of the discipline. Relating to my own experience, my time budgeting skills in high school were pretty sub-par, which led to me attempting some serious adjustments on the fly in first-year.
High school for me was admittedly filled with procrastination and last-minute rushes to get work done. From the get-go, I noticed that I would have to undergo a major change in my approach to academics here in university. The sheer amount of content being covered in lectures, and the speed with which it’s done, more or less mandates a vigilant work ethic to keep up. In the past, if homework wasn’t specifically for marks, I never really saw much of a point in doing the ‘assigned’ work. Now, I’m scrambling to complete suggested problems and stay on pace with the professors. Even so, the lectures themselves provide me with little time for the material to truly sink in and for me to fully comprehend the content. As a result, I typically have to re-visit the material that evening.
This is a strategy I employed in earnest – at least, for the first couple of weeks of the term. After that, my concentration levels began to drop, since I had never applied myself consistently for long periods of time before. This led to wasted nights where no work was done at all, and I quickly began to fall behind in each class.
This more or less culminated in what was supposed to be an “Assessment Free Week” last week for us first-year engineers. Unfortunately, my own lack of preparation led to me having to spend all of my time doing three chapters’ worth of suggested problems and cramming like a madman for an upcoming term test. On top of that, I had a programming lab to do, and other tests/quizzes to worry about too.
Looking back, it hasn’t been what I would call a fun past seven days. What it has been, though, is an opportunity to learn from the evident mistakes I made. I should be looking further ahead in terms of assessments, and blocking off time early on to start reviewing material. With finals just around the corner, I’m already starting my review for a couple of the courses I’ve found challenging. It might seem early compared to my high school days, but hey, “that’s so crazy, it just might work”!