Ask Kate Anything: How to make time for friends with a full schedule

Dear Swamped,

Way to be determined and take on 21 units in one semester! You are a brave soul.

Professors at Pierce tell you in the beginning of each semester that you need two hours of study/homework time for each unit you are taking.

That means, in theory, the typical three-unit class should take nine hours of time out of your week. At half time enrollment, you are looking at 18 hours per week, 27 hours for nine units, and 36 hours – almost the equivalent of a full-time job – for a full time student taking 12 units. More units than 12, and you have to become a time management expert. It’s your only choice if you want to keep your sanity intact.

Luckily, not every class requires all that study time every week. Some classes require minimal extra time while others are more time-intensive. There will always be a subject or two that doesn’t come as easily to you and you will have to put in more time than the allotted two hours per unit, but you should know how much time you need for each class at the beginning of every week.

The first thing you need to do is make a weekly schedule. Rely on the syllabi that your teachers provide so that you are never surprised when a test or a heavy reading week is coming up, and map out the time you need for each class.

The second thing on your list should be to get enough sleep. You know your body and what it is capable of handling, so schedule the amount of sleep you need each night. A well rested brain learns more quickly and effectively.

Third, cut back on television and unnecessary social media that tend to drain your time.

You may feel like a pack mule, but in order to take advantage of all the time available to you in a week, you should start taking your work with you everywhere you go. Whenever you have half an hour or even ten minutes here or there, don’t waste it.

School should be your priority at this time, but taking a break and having some fun is important too. Schedule a few hours a week for your friends and boyfriend, but be wise about it. Don’t go out if you have a test the next morning or need to write a paper.

You have to take breaks to eat every day, so use that time to squeeze in some fun. Meet your friends for lunch or coffee to refuel before your afternoon classes or study sessions.

If you drive, use your commute time to catch up with friends or family on the phone – with a hands-free device, of course.

You will have to be extra organized with your time while you are in school, but remember, it’s only a season. It will be over before you know it, so keep your eyes on that light at the end of the tunnel.


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