If stress is causing you to rip your hair out, I got you. As a seasoned college veteran (I'm a junior by the way), I've learned to incorporate certain routines and activities into my life to reduce stress. Hopefully, they help you too!
1. Transfer syllabus assignments into your planner.
Don't ruffle through each class's syllabus every day! Take the time to sit down and transfer all the homework, assignments, and projects into one place. Whether you use a paper planner or electronic calendar, this tip will allow you to easily view your daily to-do lists. So, take a few hours and play your new favorite album or Netflix obsession (I recommend "Sex Education") and get organized!
2. Color code your life!
If you're like me, you have an unnecessary amount of colored pens and highlighters. Lucky for you because these will only make it easier to organize your life! Assign a color to your classes, clubs, job, and leisure activities. If you want to color code different types of assignments, like putting big projects in red and homework in blue, that's totally up to you. Customize this tip to what will make your life the most organized!
2. Set weekly reminders for big projects.
Have you ever realized that you had a project due in a week? And it was assigned at the beginning of the semester?! To save yourself from any stress ulcers, set weekly reminders for long-term projects or papers. Depending on the depth and time given to a complete a project, you can choose how far back you would like to remind yourself of a due date. For example, if a project has five key parts you can split these responsibilities into the five weeks prior to the due-date. This way you will never forget about big projects again!
4. Highlight things you don't get to.
Unfortunately, we don't always get to everything in the week. Assignments fall to the wayside, discussion boards are forgotten, and sometimes emotional breakdowns get in the way of doing any work. That's okay! Pick a highlighter color and mark these missed assignments so you can remind yourself to complete them in the future.
5. Work in order of immediacy.
This one may seem obvious, but when I've gotten overwhelmed with a mountain of assignments, working in order of the most immediate due date reduced my stress. In the blindness of stress, you forget that everything isn't due tomorrow. So take a deep breath and work on what is due for the next day. If you have a big project due at the end of the week (that you have not started because you did not listen to tip number three!), split this into small parts and move on to this after all your work for the next day is completed.
6. Start a wind-down routine.
To make tomorrow a little smoother, do some things the night before. In the hour before you head to bed, pack your snacks, set out an outfit (check tomorrow's weather first!), pack your needed textbooks and materials, and glance at tomorrow's to-do list to check for any meetings or events. So, instead of scrambling in the morning, do these simple tasks to sleep easier.
7. Make planning fun!
Sticky notes, colored pens, markers, and stickers can spice up your planner and make organizing your life a creative activity. Use sticky notes for events or assignments you're not sure of so that you're not writing directly on the paper. Add stickers as a substitute for writing or to beautify your planner. Put on some music, grab a snack, and plan!
8. White-Out Dispenser. Period.
If you decide not to use my sticky note method, you might run into the issue of crossing out mistakes and misprints. Why take up unnecessary space and clutter your mind with ugly scribbles when you can make it look like it never happened? So use your white-out dispenser and get on with planning.
9. Organize fun and leisure into your life.
Did you think I wasn't going to talk about something other than schoolwork? You can't reduce your stress if you're always focused on what's making you stressed: school! Make time for yourself, hang out with friends, go roller-skating, paint, exercise, or make a vision board on Pinterest. Just like you make time for school and work, prioritize yourself as well.
10. Study Buddy!
You don't have to always be crammed in your room doing homework! You can also incorporate friends into your school life. Studying is more fun and helpful when you and your friends are working towards a goal together and supporting each other along the way. Rent out a study room, grab an iced coffee, share ideas, and get down to business!
I hope these tips help to de-stress your life. Also, think about how you won't remember these stressful items on your to-do list in a year.
College is tough, but you are resilient and worth so much more than any assignment or grade.
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