A well thought-out timetable is undoubtedly one of the most undervalued resources when it comes to student success.
Here’s why: selecting your own class times means you have the option to hand pick a schedule that fits your lifestyle. Many students have extracurricular responsibilities that require an effective work/life balance, and learning to manage your time as you take on these endeavours will be extremely valuable. Secondly, there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to timetable combinations, so there’s no reason why you should let yours run your life.
To help you craft your perfect timetable, we defined four common types of students and the schedule that work best for each one. Of course, we understand that you might not always have the option to create your dream schedule. However, you can still use this guide as a reference point and make compromises as you go.
1. The Young and Eager
In the professional world, there are 8 hour days. If you’re really lucky, there will also be half days. If you want to make room for part-time internships and placements, having a scattered school schedule will likely conflict with your work availability. Additionally, from an employer’s point of view, it’s usually not in their best interest to hire people who are balancing school and work, so it’s up to you to make your case and go the extra mile to make things easier for them.
How can you do this? Well it can be as simple as limiting your classes to just a few days per week. This can be challenging depending on what your program requirements are, but even making yourself available from 8am-12pm or 12pm-4pm a few times a week can make an employer happy!
If your job requires you to wake up early, you’ll want to keep this habit consistent throughout the week to ensure you’re at your peak performance. This means staying away from evening classes! Not only will it feel impossible for you to focus after a full day of work, it’ll also put you at a disadvantage for the following day. Besides, being up early usually enhances your productivity throughout the day!
Start by following these guidelines:
Days spent at school: 3/7
Morning Classes: ALL OF THEM
Evening Classes: Nope
What you should see: All your course blocks getting up close and personal
2. The Mega-Athlete
Have your class times been getting in the way of your exciting sports career? Feeling like you have to choose between school and sports can be overwhelming – both are a huge part of your life. Now, if only there was a way you didn’t have to sacrifice one for the other..
..and there is!
Get in contact with your coach before the school year commences, even if you haven’t made the team yet. Pick their brain about practice times for the upcoming year. Even if they don’t know the exact schedule, they’ll usually have a pretty good idea of what it might be based off of previous years.
While you’re at it, definitely ask about out-of-town tournaments. Depending on the answer, Fridays off could be your new best friend! This way, you can avoid the unnecessary stress of last-minute class switches and focus on crushing try outs.
Days spend at school: 5/7
Morning Classes: Prime practice time – be careful!
Evening Classes: Unless running sprints on 5 hours of sleep is your thing, these are probably not a good idea either.
What you should see: Free mornings paired with busy afternoons
3. The Shift Worker
Whether you’re working at a restaurant or your local grocery store, the only predictable thing in your life is that it is crazy unpredictable.
Party this weekend? No chance.
Can you walk the dog? I start in twenty minutes!
But it’s your sister’s wedding! Can’t mom! Work!
Regardless of your situation, shift work is a tricky thing to schedule your life around. Unless you build a strong relationship with your boss, your shifts will likely be scattered depending on your availability. So, my suggestion is to make yourself available 5 or 6 hours of every business day you’d like to work. This will give your boss flexibility when it comes to fitting you into the schedule. Plus, you’ll be able to balance work and school whether you’re working in the morning, midday, or evening (or all three)!
Days spent at school: 5/7
Morning Classes: Yup
Evening Classes: Probably
Going through the exact same availability with your boss 2-3 times a month: Yup
What you should see: Enough room to squeeze in a shift every day you’d like to work
4. The Captain of Clubs
Beyond the resume boost, being a part of a club or an association on campus can be one of the most rewarding parts of your university experience. Each role comes with it’s own set of responsibilities, so you’ll want to make sure you have read the club rules and understand the requirements of your role. The role of club president is 24/7, 365 days a year, so you have to consider how this will affect your schooling. Will there be fundraisers? Meetings? Evening events?
Meeting times will likely be unpredictable as they are usually scheduled around everyone’s availability. Evenings and weekends are the obvious choice, but there will be events you will be expected to attend outside of that so make sure you keep that in mind. Having one day off a week from classes to purely focus on your other responsibilities can really help you manage your time.
Try following these guidelines!
Days spent at school: 8/7
Morning Classes: Sure
Evening Classes: Not if you have meetings!
What you should see: Large gaps between classes (for when you need to be on campus but not in class)
The biggest mistake you can make is not utilizing the freedom of making your own timetable to your fullest advantage. It will set you up for success in all areas of your life.