I can’t believe my freshman year is over! Throughout my first semesters as an engineering student, I’ve definitely learned a lot of lessons—from both good and not-so-good experiences. One of the most crucial takeaways I got from this year is the huge importance of time management. Engineering students are undoubtedly busy. We’re juggling our difficult, technical classes with clubs, sports and sometimes even jobs. One of the hardest transitions can be from high school into college, and how important time management becomes in that process. I definitely wasn’t great at managing my time during those first few months of freshman year, leading to a lot of unnecessary stress and all-nighters. Lack of sleep + stress + Calc II = not fun. Since then, I’ve definitely learned my lesson! With the help of some tools—from a good planner to some nifty apps—I’m much better at balancing all of my work and extracurriculars. Here are some of my favorite helping hands:
You might have heard of this tool before! It’s a popular mobile app and a chrome extension that is based off the pomodoro study method, in which you study in intervals of 25 minutes and rest for 5. Forest allows you to set a specified amount of time that you want to be focused for. When you start the timer, a virtual tree begins to grow. If you try to exit out of the app, your tree will die! After the allotted time period, your tree will finish growing. Over time, your trees will turn into a forest. It’s a great way to force yourself to stay off social media while studying. One of my favorite aspects about the app is that you can plant real trees! After earning 2500 coins, you can trade them in for a real tree, planted by Trees for the Future!
I’m very picky when it comes to planners, but one of my favorites is an online planner called Plan. It’s an amazing program that allows you to create classes and tasks within each class. You can then drag them onto an hourly calendar that essentially allows you to plan out your day hour by hour! It will even give you desktop alerts when it’s time to move onto the next task/assignment. You can also sync it with your Google Calendar to coordinate events, meetings and classes. Overall, it’s an amazing, versatile tool that I’d highly recommend for anyone who tends to plan our their day in a structured manner.
Stuck in a loud place? Have noisy roommates? One of my favorite online tools is SimplyNoise, a website that has a really great white noise generator with three different sound options. If you’re ever in a situation where you need to focus, SimplyNoise is invaluable. With a good pair of headphones, it tunes out a ton of annoying background noises!