University City

Students must learn to smartly organize their time

This feature is part of an occasional series aimed at helping students get ready for the upcoming school year.

Marybeth Hughes is an English teacher at Rocky River High School on Clear Creek Commerce Drive.

Q: Why is it important for students to organize their time?

Students need to decide what is most important to them, what needs to be done first, and what outcomes they want. None of us have unlimited time and resources, so we need to organize ourselves to do what needs to get done. When we do have that long list of things to do, we have to realize that some things may not be done as perfectly as we would like.

Q: How can students organize their time effectively, especially if they have many extracurricular activities going on?

Students should understand that none of us can do everything we want like soccer, band, mission trips, Scouts, dance, football, part-time jobs, challenging courses and so on. The first step towards organizing is making choices. Students should find one or two extra-curricular activities they are really passionate about and then go from there.

Students should concentrative on one or two activities. Put academics first with the activity a close second.

Q: How do students prioritize between and school and their other activities?

When school is in session, students need to attend everyday and make their homework assignments top priority.

Of course, many young people today work part-time jobs and not just to afford cars, insurance and expensive clothes. Many students pitch in and help their parents with expenses like yearbooks, class rings and prom.

Other students watch their younger siblings so their parents can work. Sometimes it is quite a challenge to keep up with everything.

Q: How can parents support and help their children manage their time?

Parents can help their children understand that life is a series of choices. Unfortunately, we can't do it all. With careful questioning and listening, parents can help their children decide what is important, what can be postponed, or foregone completely.

Q: How can students stay on top of everything they've got to do while still managing their time?

An agenda is a good idea. I've seen students keep an agenda and then circle one or two items in their favorite bright color to know that's the task that absolutely must get done. I've had students tell me that if they know they have several things to do, they'll set the alarm on their cell phones to alert them to move on.

If students are working together on a project or assignment, one of the students can be a timekeeper to help everyone stay focused and move ahead.