At first, we're excited about going back to school. The idea of starting new and being involved in classes is a great feeling, and most classes seem like they'll be a breeze. You have call-out meetings to clubs or organizations and talk about events coming up with your favorite fraternity at chapter. You think to yourself, "Dude. I got this."
Then reality strikes. The dreadful group projects sneak in, followed by papers, class presentations, and exams. You now have to balance getting your community service hours in for your fall dance with fulfilling your duties on the school newspaper or Dance Marathon executive board. You realize your work schedule completely conflicts with your Bust and Homecoming events, and suddenly you feel as if the better option would be getting hit by the Mitts bus and getting a free pass for the rest of the semester (Is that really a thing?)
Instead of getting overwhelmed swimming in piles of homework on the fourth floor of Bracken, here are some tips to manage your time well and relieve some stress before your head explodes.
Write things down. That may seem like a stupid suggestion, but you never realize how much you depend on your memory until it's too late and you forget a major assignment or meeting. Invest in a planner or two, depending how busy you are. Even if it seems simple and easy to remember like going to the grocery story, you may forget to do it and you get stuck going to Walmart at 3 in the morning. This will help you plan out what you need to do when, and you won't get stuck doing four assignments at the last minute because you didn't realize they were due.
and on that note...
Make a schedule for EVERYTHING. Sit down the night before and plan out your day. Class. Chapter. Meetings. Also take into consideration things like going to the gym and the library. While these seem easy to just fit in at the last minute, planning times before hand even if they are subject to change will make you feel better than running out of time at the end of the day.
Make a playlist. Many people suggest listening to classical music while studying, but it all depends on personal preference. I always turn to the Calm Down playlist on Spotify, or an acoustic playlist of some sort. Listening to calming and soothing music calms the body, which can help you focus on getting stuff your work done and keeping your mind off of other unimportant things.
It's OKAY to say no. It happens-- your friend comes in when you are studying and brings up the idea of going to Steak n Shake, or going to a friend's house. Don't fall for it! It's okay to take quick fifteen minute breaks when trying to study, but when you have a set plan it's not the best idea. Blowing your schoolwork or important tasks off may seem like a quick stress reliever in the meantime, but will only stress you out more later. As good as a fresco melt sounds, your grades and sanity will pay off later.
Sleep more. You're probably scoffing at this, but it's seriously a good idea. Lack of sleep makes it harder to concentrate and focus, as well as making your reaction time slower. Instead of staying up all night the night before a huge exam, study before bed, go to sleep, and make some time in the morning to review before taking it. If a full night's sleep doesn't seem as if it's an option for you, opt for naps. Naps are great. Twenty minute power naps let you wake up refreshed and not groggy, so try to stay away from taking two hour naps before class or chapter.
Don't take everything too seriously. Like I said before, breaks can be a good thing in studying. If you're feeling stressed, take a quick 15 to 20 minute break to do something that makes you happy. Make a snack, watch tv, or get on social media. My happy place is looking up gifs of Chris Pratt. It works. Try during this time to keep your mind off of everything on your plate.