Students discuss the benefits of practicing time management during finals week

By Madilyn Cianci, Staff Writer

Owen Boccabella, a junior bioengineering major, creates a study schedule for the last three weeks of the semester to make sure he’s staying on top of his work. 

“I have reminders for assignments on my phone so I can just check them off,” Boccabella said. “I’ve been doing the same setup for two years and it’s worked pretty well.”

Research from the University of Missouri shows that college students who manage their time well perform better in their classes, have a greater work-life balance and experience less work overload. These practices are common throughout Pitt campus as students buckle down on final projects, papers and exams. 

Assignments can become difficult to track as the semester comes to a close, so practicing time management is effective for completing work and maintaining a strong mental health during a stressful time. 

Bella Quattrucci, a sophomore marketing major, said she plans out every day so she can better manage her finals workload. 

“This morning I sat down and wrote everything I wanted to do and the classes I had today,” Quattrucci said. “I tried to block everything out so I could plan when I wanted to do everything.” 

For Quattrucci, managing time includes how long it takes to travel to and from campus and even extends to timing out her meals. She said packing food to eat between her study breaks at Hillman Library helps her use her time more efficiently. 

Quattrucci prefers to work in Hillman during the final weeks of the semester because the social environment of the ground floor motivates her to complete all her work. 

“I think working with friends is motivating because you can sit down and work together, get food together and come back and work, and that really has helped me stay longer and enjoy studying more,” Quattrucci said. 

According to Quattrucci, her time management skills allow for “really appreciated” downtime when her work is complete. She said scheduling time for herself helps her work better because she knows she will go home at the end of the day to enjoy her free time.

“If I want to watch an episode [of a show] or do an activity, then I know I need to do this amount of work — and that motivates me to do more,” Quattrucci said. 

Bella Campo, a sophomore film and media critical studies major, said she’s “not doing too bad” because she manages her time in advance of finals.

“I’ve managed to space out my work throughout the past week and I have a plan going into next week, so I know what I’m doing now and I know when everything needs to be done,” Campo said.

According to Campo, her planner helps her manage her entire schedule. Every Sunday, she writes all the assignments, due dates and plans she has for the upcoming week. This isn’t the only method she uses to track her final schoolwork — Campo said she utilizes spreadsheets and checklists to stay on top of her assignments. 

“I have a spreadsheet and a checklist on my computer, and also my planner,” Campo said. “So I’m never not aware of what’s ahead of me.”

Although Campo understands what her schedule entails, the lack of study locations on campus makes it difficult for her to find a place to work. She said she planned to go to the Frick Fine Arts Library on Sunday morning because she finds the quiet atmosphere more productive, but all of the doors were locked. 

Because Frick was closed, Campo said she went to the Cathedral of Learning and found it filled with people attending the Nationality and Intercultural Exchange Program’s Holiday Open House for the Nationality and Heritage Rooms. Campo said a lot of students work in the Cathedral on Sundays, so it frustrated her that the open house was held at a time where students need rooms to study in. 

Faheem Hussain, a junior neuroscience and economics double major, said he and his friends visited four different locations on campus in search of a study spot. 

“We tried the Union, Cathy is bad and we’ve just checked out Posvar.” Hussain said. 

Hussain and his friends came to Hillman as a last resort, but finding a spot in the library was more difficult than the previous buildings they checked out. 

“[Hillman] is the worst one, I don’t even know why we tried,” Hussain said. 

There are a variety of study spaces available ranging from Hillman and the Cathedral to the Frick Fine Arts Library, William Pitt Union, Posvar Hall and dining locations across campus, as well as Oakland locations like the Carnegie Library. Students can also find available open classrooms in the academic space reservation system.

As students take on a heavy workload during these final weeks, they appreciate that professors are understanding of their hectic schedules.

Gaurav Badhan, a junior neuroscience and anthropology double major, said most of his professors decided to opt out of finals and assign final projects and papers instead. 

“It’s easier because I’ve had more time to prepare for it before I start studying for finals,” Badhan said. 

Boccabella said one of his professors offered to move their final to one of the last available time slots and accommodate students who are having a stressful experience managing their finals workload. He said this hasn’t been easy for instructors to do, but it has helped him and other students in his class. 

According to Campo, not all professors understand the amount of work students have in their other classes and are assigning more than students can handle. 

“I have one professor who assigned a 15-page paper and I’m like, ‘You do know we have other classes, right?’” Campo said. “And then I have one professor who asked what format we want for our final. I appreciate it a lot.”