College is stressful. Life in general is stressful. Those are some pretty well-known facts. While the first few weeks or so of classes always seem to be pretty easy going, it’s right around Mid-October where it all builds up and you just want to claw your eyes out. Now I don’t want you to feel the need to claw your eyes out, so here are some great tips that have worked for me to keep the stress levels down.
1) Plan ahead:
At the start of every week I do a quick review of all my syllabi, and schedules, and make sure my planner and calendar are up to date. I also have a giant whiteboard in my room, and on that board I list the “Big Ideas” of the week: papers and projects due, tests and quizzes, and what my work schedule is. This allows me to know what to expect all week, and what I need to really focus on.
Lists are my favorite things, I have lists for what books I want to read, what movies I want to watch and what TV shows I need to binge on Netflix. I also have multiple to-do lists. Whatever type of to-do list works best for you, whether it’s an app on your phone, a sheet of notebook paper, or a whiteboard. I prefer the whiteboard or the paper version, the actual act of crossing things off makes you feel like you’re getting something done, and that in itself can erase some stress. My to-do list includes not only class work, but things like going to Price Chopper, cleaning my closet and calling my Grandmother.
3) Little things first:
For me, tackling the big things (the projects, the papers) is awful, so I always do the little things first, or in between. It’s difficult to sit and write out a ten page paper in one sitting, so I take breaks. Depending on my workload my break may be a Netflix break, but more often than not it’s a break to do the little things. It’s common for me to take breaks from my papers to do a quick BlackBoard assignment, because that is one less thing I have to do later.
4) TREAT YO-SELF:
You have to take breaks, you have to remember to breathe, sleep and take care of yourself. Whenever something major gets crossed of my list: a paper, a project, an exam, I treat myself. I buy a candy bar, I watch some Netflix, I may even take a great nap. Just like with children and dogs, the reward system can work for yourself too. I am a firm believer in the “once I finish this essay I’ll watch an episode of Dexter” model. It’s also a fantastic motivator and gives me a tangible reason to get the work done. I have very little self-control, yet I can manage to hold back from grabbing the remote until that essay is printed and stapled.