College is a great time to try out young adulthood and newfound independence, but college can also come with many stresses and concerns you hadn't dealt with before. With this being said, academic self-care is essential in college. Self-care is not just face-masks and bubble baths, but it is instead the choices you make to minimize stress in your life. I crafted 5 tips that everyone should follow as a form of self-care to be successful and stress-free in college.
1. Finish assignments two days before their deadline.
This may sound like obvious advice from your parent or teacher, but as a student myself I've really learned the importance of not waiting until the last minute. Think about it: waiting until the day before or the day of to complete an assignment will bring you the most stress possible. All the stress stems from the general anticipation of the assignment, the pressure of time, and the quality you may be sacrificing because you waited until the last minute. If you can buckle down and complete assignments at least two days before the deadline, you remove all the unnecessary stress and free up more of your time.
On a side note, registration dates should also be treated as deadlines. You cannot imagine the stress some students will face when the classes they need for graduation are completely filled. To avoid many trips to advising and unnecessary stress, be aware of what day and time registration officially begins.
2. When in doubt: withdraw.
Occasionally, you may find yourself in a class where nothing is working out. The teacher barely teaches, the subject matter is completely foreign, and you feel as though you are drowning. You begin to wonder if this class will greatly decrease the GPA you have worked so hard to maintain, and the inevitable stress begins. There is no shame in withdrawing from a class, especially when it has small academic repercussions in the first few weeks of the semester. Receiving late withdrawal with no academic consequence, meaning no grade being recorded to your transcript, is generally reserved for special circumstances of personal trauma or family emergency. Withdrawing from a class that you cannot manage even with your best efforts could easily save your GPA and your sanity.
3. Stop over-extending yourself.
Besides your academics, there are social events, job opportunities, and a variety of organizations to get involved in on campus. It is great to be so involved, but it is important to not over involve yourself to the point of exhaustion. Academics, social events, jobs, and organizations all require a lot of time and commitment. You may find yourself in a situation where a job opportunity coincides with meetings of a coveted organization. You may realize that your grades are suffering as a result of a new job or organization. Being that you are at college, grades should always come first as a form of investment for the future. Many students do have to work in order to afford college, which puts having a job at the same level of importance as academics. But for those who do not necessarily need to work, you must prioritize to find what combination of academics, work, and socializing is right for you. The worst thing you can do is commit to too many things at once, and end up breaking all those commitments. Find your limit of academics and extracurricular activities for a more successful college experience.
4. Actually talk to your professors.
Communicating with your professors is one of the simplest and most effective things to do for your sanity and academic ability. Not only is it important to double-check details of a project or assignment with your professor, but they may have some helpful tips on how to break into your field of interest. As long as you aren't still taking general education classes, your professor is a certified expert in your professional field of interest. If you are on the hunt for internships, ask about what kind of opportunities their former students received. If you are looking to improve an aspect of your study they specialize in, ask them if they could advise you regarding that. Professors generally want to help you succeed, and they will be more able to help if you show clear initiative.
5. Take time for yourself.
This one goes without saying, and yet many college students barely schedule in some greatly needed rest and relaxation. Even if you are studying around the clock and your major is your life, take some time out to be with a friend. If you had an exhausting week unlike any other, sleep for twelve hours on Friday night and forget Happy Hour. College is like a trial-period of adulthood: most of us are nearly on our own, but we still have the structure of school and the support of financial aid and our families helping us out. In this trial-period, it is important to start habits you want to keep in the future when you are really on your own. If you are exhausted by your erratic sleep schedule, begin fixing it now. If you want to procrastinate less, take steps to fix it now. The healthy habits you practice now will be utilized greatly in the future.