Marygrove Blog

Marygrove Blog

Managing college with grace and poise

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke

Fri, Oct 05, 2012 @ 01:21 PM

college-lifeTrying to manage your life as a full-time student isn’t easy—especially when you couple academic life with being a parent and working. If you would, though, take a few minutes and consider a few of our suggestions for managing your college career with grace and poise. They may pay off in the long run.

Find your passion. Create something—anything.
If you’re taking 12 credit hours, you qualify as a full-time student, which means that you’re probably in class, say, twelve hours a week. If you can swing it, you might think about taking classes that meet once a week for three hours and get it out of the way in two days; if you can, spend the rest of your time, when you aren’t studying or working, pursuing a passion: paint, draw, walk, sit and do nothing, turn off your phone (don’t just turn it to vibrate), play your guitar, learn to play your guitar. Lighten your load by taking a ceramics or photography class to relieve stress and give yourself a break from your more demanding courses.

Professors are living, breathing people. Talk to them. 
It took me a while to learn this, but your professors (most of them) want you to talk to them. They get lonely. Most of them go through a 20 or 30+ year career on faith—that is, the hope that that they’ve said or done something that resonated with you. They may get the occasional “thank-you, you-made-a-difference-in-my-life” email from an old student, but they can probably count these on one hand. Nowhere and at no other time in your life will you be surrounded by such a brilliant group of people. Take advantage of it. Stop by their office. Talk to them after class. They like music and art and crazy films that you’ve never seen or heard of and they’ll probably even lend some of them to you.  

Letters of recommendation
This one is an extension of the last point. Once you graduate, you’re going to want letters of recommendation—either for employment or for graduate school. But you can’t exactly get these unless your professor knows who you are. Imagine how awkward it’s going to be to ask your professors for one of these and have them respond with, “Wait, what did you say your name was again?” Here’s another thing to keep in mind once you graduate: Always ask your professors if you can use them as a reference before you use them for a reference.  

Study abroad…if you can
There is only so much you can learn in a classroom. Taking in the world from a textbook or on a computer screen is a fine surrogate for the real thing, but ultimately books and screens are just that—substitutes. Here’s something to consider: You can still travel and still pursue your degree at the same time. This will not only enhance your life, but it will surely enhance your foreign language skills and your resume. Talk to Michelle Cade about our unique study abroad programs that span six continents and see if you can make it happen. Here are a few of your choices:

  • Freshman Travel Seminar
    Enhance your first year experience at Marygrove by spending a weekend discovering Toronto with other New Students. Sip a coffee in Kensington Market. Explore Cabbagetown or Little Italy. Walk down Yonge Street, the longest street in the world. Take a trip to the top of CN tower, one of the world’s tallest buildings.

  • Short-Term & Summer Programs
    If you just can’t get away for a whole semester, but want to spend more than a few weeks in another country, consider studying overseas during the spring or summer. Marygrove offers short-term, flexible study abroad programs that range in length from two to eight to 10 weeks.

  • Semester & Academic Year Programs
    Marygrove College works with a number of study abroad organizations to provide students with a variety of study abroad program options. Students can choose to spend an academic year or a semester abroad, depending on their academic programs and when and where they prefer to go.

  • Intern Abroad Programs
    What better way to develop skills and enhance your résumé than by completing an internship in another country?

For more information on Study Abroad, contact Michelle Cade, Director of International Studies at (313) 927-1485 or

Topics: College life, time management