Study smarter, better, faster


Students studying for the Homer D. Babbidge Library last semester to prepare for midterms. (Jason Jiang)

During a talk on time-management skills, the Academic Achievement Center handed out materials to help students better budget their time.

The “168 Hours: Work, Play, Study” talk was hosted by two master coaches Amy Cerezo, a fourth-semester human development and family studies major, and Brenna Whitton, an eighth-semester psychology major.

The Academic Achievement Center, located in the John W. Rowe Center for Undergraduate Education, provides workshops, time management courses, coaching hours and one-on-one mentoring for students struggling to balance their time. The mentoring is not content-specific, but the versatile skills can be applied to all classes, Cerezo and Whitton said.

At the beginning of the talk, the coaches asked each participant to write down the answer to a few questions: What is their top priority? What three things do they spend the most time doing each day? What do they do when they procrastinate? What tools do they use to stay on track?

Overwhelmingly, the small group of participants said their top priority was classes and class work, which made Cerezo and Whitton happy. The group said they spend most of their time studying, going to class or working. They also said using a planner was their most useful tool in staying on top of their responsibilities.

Whitton said she consistently uses a planner as well.

“I use three planners, one being my Google calendar, one being a weekly schedule and one being an hourly planner,” Whitton said. “If I don’t write it down I won’t remember it. Writing it down keeps me accountable.”

After the group gave responses, Whitton and Cerezo shared apps that can help with studying, such as Self Control for Mac users and Cold Turkey for PC users. Both those apps block social media and other distracting sites for a certain amount of time.

Another helpful tip the coaches explained was ranking your to-do list by importance and urgency. Every task falls on a scale depending on how important and how urgent it is. Tasks that are important and urgent should be completed soon, i.e., today or tomorrow. Tasks that are urgent but aren’t important are sometimes emails or extracurricular activities. Tasks that aren’t urgent and aren’t important waste time, for example social media or catching up on television shows.

Deanna Bennett, an eighth-semester history and German studies major, said she found the discussion helpful.

“I will probably use those computer apps, in addition to already using a planner and Google calendar,” Bennett said.

Whitton said a lot of the students who participate are new to the university, whether they are freshman, transfers or international students.

“They don’t know how to get through the balancing act between social and academic lives,” Whitton said. “Most of the students I know have problems with procrastinating.

Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

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