College is a time in life when education becomes more than just curriculum we must learn by heart out of a textbook. It’s that period in life when we start looking to connect what we learn to a future which will lead to a career that gives us meaning and a reason to wake up in the morning.

The pressure is on at university. We must prove to ourselves, more than anyone else, that we’re here to excel, to do the work and then to do some more. It’s here that we must push ourselves — explore, learn, argue — to find that something that we’ll want to do for the rest of our lives.

And yet…

College life should involve more than just the academic work. It’s the time when we meet new people — ones who are different from us and can challenge our beliefs in a way that can be life-changing. It’s the time where we get involved with the clubs and organizations we care about. It’s the time to have fun, cause a little trouble, and move away from the shadow of our families.

Your college experience should be what you want it to be. Don’t do things merely to feel socially accepted, this isn’t high school.  Get yourself out of your comfort zone and figure out what you like. Excelling academically and having fun is possible, you just have to know how to use your time wisely.

Become A Time-Blocking Pro

For you to enjoy nonchalant days at university, where you excel academically and have fun too, you need to do some serious organizing. To do this you must become a time-blocking pro.

First off, find a calendar app you love. Make sure that it has useful features like different colors you can use for events, reminders, and to-do list features. Google calendar is a great one but others can do the job just as well.

Next, list mandatory tasks on the calendar. These include classes, appointments and other life/school events that will take your time. Add traveling time to each event to have a realistic idea of the time it will take you to do these things.

Make sure to include everything mandatory here, that even includes adding chores like laundry time and buying groceries. This way, you will always be on top of the things that need to get done, and you’ll be free of the unnecessary stress that comes when you start running out of healthy food or clean clothes.

Once you have the mandatory events scheduled, it’s time to look at your remaining free time. There are two important things you must keep in mind here:

  1.    Use the time wisely

List down all the things that you have to do to excel academically and to have fun, and make time for both. You will never strike a perfect balance. There will be a week where academic work will take up most of your free time and other days when social clubs, traveling or taking photos will be priority.

The perfect balance doesn’t matter here. What does matter is that you get things done well. If you know you need four hours to write a paper, then take them, but if you’re sure an hour is enough for you, do that. The same goes for the fun stuff. If you’re feeling like you need a day to photograph the city, rather than sitting in your dorm trying to read, make time for it. The purpose of time-blocking is for you to make time for everything, so that when you’re having fun you don’t feel guilty and when you’re working you can focus better.

The one thing to keep in mind for time-blocking to work is to respect that time. If you have given yourself an hour to write a paper, use that hour and don’t waste it on social media or chatting with a friend..

  1.    Don’t fill every second of your day

Using your time wisely during university is important, but this period in your life also deserves time to wander. This means not giving in to the ‘emergencies’ that are now life. You don’t need to be constantly busy. You don’t need to answer every email, every social media comment, the minute you see it.

This is the time where you can be perceptive. Where you can notice what others are doing. Notice what makes you happy and what frustrates you, what gives you a sense of purpose and what you want to change. Only in asking these questions will you discover how you want to proceed after university.

So take those long walks when you can and daydream the time away. Browse online and see what incredible things people are working on. Volunteer and awaken to the injustices you’re seeing before you. Follow whatever captivates your mind and don’t be afraid to obsess over things, and criticize what you see.

Building A Strong Base For Yourself

In becoming a time-blocking pro, you are building a strong skeletal base for your future self to handle whatever pressure life and work bring about. Prioritizing academic work is essential during your college years because it will open doors for you, but don’t forget to have fun.

Remember, the idea for Twitter was thought of in a playground. Successful blogs started as hobbies, and the idea for a book often comes when a writer is wandering away the time.