Pulling an all-nighter and cramming for tests, spending endless hours in the library, trying to reach the minimum word count requirement for an essay assignment, going heavy on coffee and energy drinks to survive the exams week… This is basically what all freshmen go through. However, you know what the funny thing is, I am a senior in college and have never pulled an all-nighter or go crazy when it comes to finals week. I will be a senior and have made it through three years of college without dying at the end of every semester. I know this is unbelievable for many but here are my tips to all freshmen on how to stay sane as the workload gets heavier:
- 1. Planning is Everything: I used to be that girl in high school who thought that taking a mental note is enough but that never works out. We will forget things and it is ok. We are merely humans. The best way to not only remember but to stay motivated to get what needs to be done is by writing it down. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram news feed can eat up shocking amounts of hours. Minimize numbing, unproductive daily activities. Keep track of the college tasks you need to complete so you know the exact amount of academic workload you're dealing with. The planner is everything. Use different colors if needed but writing down and keeping track is the best and most productive way of staying on top of your work.
- 2. Procrastination is the Enemy: You have that paper you need to write but cannot seem to put words into action. Personally, I never really suffer from this because I am a fan of writing. I promise there isn't a shortcut to stop procrastinating, but taking baby steps will help you come a long way. You can start by visualizing the feeling of satisfaction and self-proud once you get the task done. Another useful trick includes publicly committing to finishing some task. Tell a friend or share your goals on social media. This is effective as humans are naturally hardwired to care about their reputation, so they don't want to look lazy or weak in the eyes of others.
- 3. Lastly, Be Realistic: Avoid setting goals for yourself that you know you won't stick to. Doing so will only lead to disappointment. Instead, identify realistic ones you can work toward. Understanding the importance of setting short-term and long-term goals that are realistic and achievable is vital for a successful student. For example, if a student's short-term goal is to earn a 3.5-grade point average, I suggest steps of conducting a daily class and weekly reviews of notes. Additionally, creating a plan of action is the best way to accomplish your goals. It often turns once-unreachable goals into more realistic ones.
What I am trying to provide is not only how to be a successful student but how to enjoy your years in college without stressing out too much. These are the year you will look back at and remember all the fun and crazy thing you did. You do not want to recall your college years as you stressing and not getting work done. Just stay on top of it from the start and it gets easier as years pass. Remember, write what needs to be done, stay away from the enemy procrastination and be realistic. Life is complicated enough because we cannot control certain aspects. This you can control so take it by the horns and work.