The last thing a college student needs is to be handed an overflowing workload and have no idea where to start. Stress never leads to quality work. Here are a few simple ways to organize your schedule.
Before the meltdown
To ease the stress for the next week, make sure to write down all assignments, including due dates and other reminders. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to ask. This will save you time later. If you are already in the midst of a breakdown, move on to step two.
The first thing to do is take a deep breath. There is plenty of time, if you manage it correctly. Take about ten minutes to collect your thoughts and create a list of every assignment, if you haven’t already. Having a planner will take this step out I highly suggest you get one. Another helpful tool is a white board to make lists on.
After that, try to prioritize your work by due date and by how long the assignment is going to take. For example, if you have a small assignment due Wednesday and a five-page essay due Friday, the essay should take higher priority. The essay should be broken up into smaller, manageable bits.
What about everything else you need to do? Make a rough schedule of how your week will look so you know how much time you have to work on assignments. Make sure you set aside quality time. Don’t make plans to work on an assignment or read that last chapter during another class. As a college student, you should be focused in each class. You don’t want to lose control and miss assignments completely.
Taking care of business
Got that list ready? Time to get started. When beginning an assignment, it is helpful to read through all instructions first. Understanding how the assignment is to be done helps take away the stress of just jumping in and floundering about with no direction. If the instructions seem unclear, go to your professor during their office hours. Face-to-face is the better method, but if you are under a serious time crunch, email your professor instead. Either way, make sure you have a clear idea of what this assignment is asking.
If possible, outline how the assignment will be done. For instance, if it’s an essay, have the beginning, middle, and end outlined. Outlines help. They give you direction. Plus, after the outline, all that needs to be done is filling in the rest.
So now you are about halfway done that first assignment. Good job. Take a break and have a snack. Even if the break is just two minutes, it’ll help your mind relax and continue to focus. Not to mention it will give your eyes a break. Small breaks in-between assignments will chop up the monotony and give you a change of scenery. Stand up and stretch or go for a walk. You deserve a reward for all of your hard work.
These are simple steps to help tidy up that big box of assignments and projects you were handed. Now get going.
Sophomore communication studies major
Printed in the 09/24/14 issue.