"How are you?"

It's the daily question, and I assume most of us respond with a default answer of "I'm good how are you?'" Lately, however, I've realized my answer has had a tendency to stray away from the norm and instead of my reply is something along the lines of "I'm alright..stressed out." Well, by the looks of it it's not just me and among those saying they're stressed out the common culprit looks to be....college! Well, if you're in college then this should be no surprise (unless you completely don't care about your grades). Reality is most of us are juggling around multiple classes, work, extracurriculars, family, a social life, maybe sports, and if we're lucky..sleep. To me it seems that right when I'v finished a paper or taken a midterm and start to think I can finally take a minute to myself I am again slammed with a major assignment. Of course, that's college for you, not much to do about it in that respect, however, these last particularly stressful week have made realize a few things I need to stop doing and what I need to start doing to make my life less stressful and more do-able!

Here's what I learned:

1) Stop Procrastinating

Let's be honest you do it, your friend does it, your dog would probably do it to if he could. We all procrastinate. Yet in all reality, who is this helping? Certainly not you. I can admit that the main reason some of my grades aren't perfect is because I wasted my time, procrastinated and by the time a test rolled around I had so many loose ends with my other classes that I barely studied. Do yourself the favor, cancel that pointless trip to Starbucks with your friend and just get it done!

2) Don't forget to take care of YOU

School is a hassle. You have 10,000 responsibilities but at the end of it all if you find yourself sleep-deprived, overly stressed and maybe even underfed then it simply isn't worth it. Never undermine the importance of your health (both physical and mental). You might be cramming for finals but take the time to eat, relax (even if it's only for ten minutes), and maybe even take a hot shower. All in all, don't neglect yourself for the sake of studying.

3) Set boundaries

A lot of student while in the midst of stressing over grades will go to extremes to perform their best. In many cases these extremes will include resourcing out to "study drugs" such Adderall. This is probably no surprise to you as it's a relatively popular means of "focusing", however, taking unsubscribed drugs for a condition you don't have can potentially be dangerous and lead to a dependence on drugs that can extend far beyond college. Again, mind and prioritize your health. Know where to draw the line.

4) Learn to manage your time

Whether it's an actual planner or a mental schedule you need to plan when you're studying, what time you can spare, and when you can go out. Break assignments up into parts and decide when each part is getting done. It will help you avoid cramming (and thus stress) and will likely help you get better grade. Of course, we are all guilty of doing this, but I promise taking the time to plan things out is worth it. Plan your time, and say goodbye to stressful nights and wondering how you are going to cram five days homework into two hours.

5) Stop trying to please everyone

Whether it's your mom, boyfriend or best friend they likely all want your time at some point or another. Unfortunately, our time is limited so trying to keep everyone happy is not only hard but it can be detrimental. If you have a five page essay due tomorrow then recognize that you need to say "no" to at least some of these invitations. Yes, it's okay to say "NO". I speak from experience, trying to keep everyone happy leaves you with a pile of unfinished homework and stressful nights. Learn to say "no". At the end of the day, they are your loved ones and despite what you may think they will understand and you will be better for it. Have priorities, take care of you, and of course make time for those who matter but never neglect yourself.

Tested and true, I've learned that following these five tips have substantially reduced my stress levels and have helped me keep my grades in check. Find yourself drowned in homework and constantly cramming? Give these tips a shot, you will likely reduce your stress too! Happy studying!