One of the first things that come to mind when I think about what it means to be a student is the need to excel at time management.  There are certainly many aspects to learning, but I have those moments when I’m faced with the difficulties of being a working adult, which is compounded by my desire to learn and to excel in the academic side of life.  With the digital structure that modern society is becoming, I’m able to plan things ahead of time to allow myself enough space in my daily routine to get things done.  Electronic calendars are favorites of mine, because a pop up is all it takes to remember that I have an assignment due and when it is due.  I can also divide my tasks into days, so I know to focus on things at their appropriate time rather than waiting and scrambling to get things done at an inopportune moment.  Computers and PDAs can be of great help when setting schedules, and putting your life in order.

However, I don’t depend on the myriad of electronics I have at my disposal alone, because they’re not as dependable as they appear.  I have had computers crash when I needed them most and I’ve had my blackberry –which I love beyond reason –shut off on me at the wrong time.  I have different mechanisms myself for backing up everything I do and everything I plan to do.  This is where flexibility comes in.  As an SPS student, I know everything is accessible –from professors to classmates, and random librarians with magic fingers.  Aside from the accessibility, there is also the added element of connectivity between students.  In modern day education, we don’t have to be in the same place to work together.  Collaboration is as simple as logging on to a tool such as Pronto, or through Blackboard’s message boards.  Being a student is much more dependent on a personal drive to learn than it is on the ability to relocate oneself to a brick and mortar institution, or physically sitting next to someone you’re assigned to work with.  We’re also given a better platform to be creative, because when you’re not restrained by time or space, you’re more equipped to add your own flavor to what you have learned rather than spewing other people’s thoughts as your own.  SPS students can work together –each one adding to a project on his time –at a fast rate because the issue of time can be minimized.

While flexibility is essential, and creativity even more important, there is no understating the importance of time management.  Whether you succeed or not will depend on how you apply yourself, but a brilliant student who submits assignments late or misses them is only brilliant in his own head.  Academic aptitude cannot be measured by interaction alone, so if you’re great at teamwork but cannot prove your own merits through material proof, then it stands to reason that you are not learning.

Charles is pursuing a BA in Communications and Culture.  He is the author of “Fields of Discovery”, and “On the Eve of Departure”.  He is also an avid Arsenal and Real Madrid fan.