What I Wish I had Known as a Freshman

Nicole Alexander (Photo: Submitted)

On move-in day for Corlew Hall in 2019, I couldn’t sit still. To say I was excited would be an understatement. It was my first year of college and my first time living on my own. Although I couldn’t wait for this new chapter in my life, I was unaware of the challenges that would blindside me during my freshman year at MTSU. I learned a lot of things during my first and second semesters, but the most important by far was the importance time-management.

One of the struggles I had was finding my own routine. I found out quickly that my routine was go to class, go back to the dorm, watch Netflix, and repeat. Those habits were catastrophic, and it kicked my butt. I failed one class my first semester, and barely passed all of the others. I discovered very quickly that I had a serious problem with managing my time.

After my first semester in fall 2019, I vowed that I would never be so careless with my time again. I found that the hardest times for me to be productive during the day were when I had free time; when I didn’t’ have to go to work and when my classes were over for the day.

As soon as I figured my routine out, a global pandemic hit. That’s when I was truly tested because all I had was free time since COVID-19 forced me to be confined to my dorm 24/7. I was losing it. How was I supposed to shape up and have better time-management when all of the structure in my life had been ripped away? I didn’t have to wake up for anything anymore because all of my classes were online, and the restaurant I worked at was temporarily shut down.

After a few days of quarantine insanity, I realized something. The very thing I was worried about—free time—was exactly what I needed to master the art of time-management. All of this time that I had been given was freedom for me to plan out my day in a way that works for me.

I learned to sit and utilize my desk rather than the bed in my dorm because I can’t work in the same place I sleep. I started checking D2L multiple times a day every day because it eased my anxiety and told me exactly what I needed to get done and when. I developed better study habits, which helped me complete the semester with all A’s and B’s.

When I look back on my first and second semesters, the difference is clear to me. When you know how to manage your time, you’re more likely to be successful in everything that you’re doing. That means choosing to study over binge-watching the next best show on Netflix. It means getting up an hour earlier if it takes you a long time to get out of bed. It means creating a weekly plan and writing down every single due date you can find so that you can be that much ahead of the game. It’s little, simple changes in your life that will contribute to a better whole.

Author Nicole Alexander is currently an undergraduate student in the Recording Industry Program in the College of Media and Entertainment.