By: Paige Riding, News Writer
Have you ever walked into a classroom with a coffee in hand, only to realize that everyone else has an exam in front of them that you completely forgot about? Or have you planned to start a paper for weeks, only to realize those “I’ll do it tomorrows” ran out? Perhaps a workshop on time management might help you figure out the hustle of being a student, working, and actually (maybe) having a social life.
The Student Learning Commons (SLC) in the SFU Library holds a series of workshops every semester about various aspects of being a good student. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” declared The Peak, and thus set out to attend a workshop entitled ‘Time Management for Busy Students,’ to help get the current issue out the damn door.
On September 6, in the W.A.C. Bennett Library, criminology PhD. candidate and Graduate Facilitator Suzanna M. led said workshop on time management. It focused on taking responsibility for one’s own time, and utilizing SFU’s resources to succeed as a student.
One of the first exercises in the time management workshop is to fill out a sheet called “Where Does Your Time Go?,” documenting one’s typical weekly schedule. Though SFU’s Library page recommends that one spends two to three hours per credit per week on studying, this is easier said than done. After filling out the handout, not a single participant in the workshop had this many hours left over in the week.
“[Being a full-time student] is more than a full-time job with how much work we put in,” Suzanna said. She suggests something called the “Four Quadrant” system, in which one splits one’s tasks into one of four categories (see photo) that involves organizing daily tasks based on both urgency and importance. While finishing quadrant one, ‘important and urgent,’ is the most critical, (for example proofreading a research paper due in the morning), Suzanna advises students to plan their time so that they are putting most of their time into the second quadrant, ‘important but not urgent.’ This would allow students to stay on top of the often overwhelming amount of work involved with post-secondary education. By working on larger tasks in small chunks well before they’re due, one avoids having those tasks fall into the ‘important and urgent’ quadrant, where much academic stress arises. This method of incremental work allows students to avoid self-inflicted semesterly burn-out.
“We are full-time students, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all we do full-time. We have other things going on in our lives, so that’s what time management is: making sure we have enough time for school, but also having enough time to keep the other things in our lives going,” Suzanna says. With other commitments cutting into potential study time, the balancing act gets harder and more stressful.
The workshop also encouraged the attendees to take a more detailed look at how they spend each day specifically. Each participant at the meeting admitted that leisure time consumes a large chunk of their days, perhaps more than they would like to admit. The workshop emphasized that taking responsibility for how one individually spends their time is critical, whether that is staying up late watching YouTube conspiracy videos, reddit shit-posting, going out with friends too often, or other poisons of choice. Suzanna notes that many students struggle in saying no to their friends or employers; ‘Fear of Missing Out’ is a genuine concern for many students. On top of potentially paying for school with a job (or two), students may be able to avoid unnecessary stress by allowing themselves to learn ways to make their lives easier. To this end, the SLC’s many workshops endeavour to give students these tools.
Despite the workshop, this article was still submitted late. The Peak still gives the workshop an A+. We’re sorry Suzanna, it’s not you, it’s us.
The Student Learning Commons holds a number of workshops every semester related to academic success. Despite The Peak’s failure in this regard, you may yet have hope. The list of workshops is available at https://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/branches-depts/slc