Your over-caffeinated hands are shaking as you disperse syllabi across an unmade bed. Your folders are so stuffed with review sheets that the binding gave way weeks ago. Your dorm room is littered with Post-Its on your microwave, your bed, your door, and your desk. There are equations to remember, bones and muscles to memorize–there is so much to take in and only a few days to do it. Your color-coded calendar continues to mock you with this fact. You dig out a dusty textbook and begin bookmarking everything that looks important, which is wayyyy too many things! There’s not enough time to do this. There’s just too much. You can’t do this. You’re going to fail. You grab a Red Bull and panic.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Studies entitled “College Students’ Academic Stress and Its Relation to Their Anxiety, Time Management and Leisure Satisfaction,” academic stress is something most college students experience at some point, most often in their freshman and sophomore years, and more often with women than men. One of the most common stressors in addition to grade competition is the self-imposed perception of workload in conjunction with a particular time frame. In other words, too much to do and not enough time. This panicky, overwhelmed, sleepless feeling at the end of the semester can be reduced by practicing good time management skills all year long! The following is a list of tips to help you better structure your schedule so when finals week hits, you’re in charge and you own your time.
Get Organized: While it might take a few extra seconds to file everything exactly where it belongs, and to write down every assignment, it beats spending hours looking for a paper you lost, or worse, redoing an assignment you misplaced. A planner and an adequate amount of notebook, folder, and binder space is one of the best investments you can make as a college student.
Prioritize: Categorize your assignments into a hierarchy of importance. Complete the hardest and most time consuming assignments first, and save the quick, more fun ones for later. You can also prioritize your time. Sometimes you don’t have the capacity to do everything you wanted. Decide what the best use of your time is, and go with it.
Set Goals: It’s easy to sit down to write a paper and let four hours pass with nothing to show for it, especially if you’re not interested in the assignment or aren’t prepared to write it. By setting goals for yourself such as “finish paper by 5 p.m.” you’re more likely to get things done and stay on pace.
Make Time for You: Despite how busy you may be, everyone needs time to just do what they want, whether that be a twenty minute run, dinner with your friends, or a Sunday evening of video games.
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