The Wellness Corner

Image by Patrick Hascall

Stress in the Chaos of Classes

How do you keep yourself organized? Are you finding yourself spinning in circles because you’ve run out of time to do your research or assignment?

Organizational skills and time management can be literal life savers for you as a student. Most of us enter college having little to no skills to help us be successful. Having these necessary skills (and using them) will help you reduce stress and keep you on track to finish the semester strong.

Here are some practical tips to help you on a daily basis:

  • Get a planner. And use that planner every day. Take it with you to every class and jot down your notes. Planners are relatively inexpensive these days and can be found at most stores from WalMart to Target to your campus bookstore! Using a planner helps you lay out your obligations in a visual manner that can help you calm that spinning feeling when you think you may have forgotten something. Flip it open and voila! You can set your mind at ease.
  • Use your calendar! If a planner isn’t your ideal mode, use your cell phone calendar. We invest a lot of money in our technology that is attached to us all day and all night, yet most people do not use it to organize their daily tasks or assignments. The great thing about the calendar on your phone is you can set reminders to tell you what assignment or exam is coming up.
  • READ YOUR SYLLABUS. Yes, really. This is your contract with your class and your professor. In it, you will find critical information such as: How many classes can I miss before my grade is impacted? What is my professor’s policy on late work? How do I contact my professor if there is an emergency or I need extra help? Too often, students run on assumptions about their classes which cause unnecessary stress. Many of your classes will lay out your due dates (keep in mind they are often flexible and will change). Having these dates laid out visually (in your calendar) allows you to better manage your time. (Remember that get together you have next week? Better get that paper done a couple days early, so you’re not stressing the night before it’s due!)
  • Set daily goals for your assignments. Having your targeted assignments laid out helps to minimize the overwhelming feeling of too much to do. If you are able to take it piece by piece, your brain will thank you. Be realistic about this. Some days you may have to do more than others, but seeing the main focus points will keep you on task and avoiding the feeling of “it’s just too much.”
  • Stop your multitasking! Unplug for a limited time each day to focus on your work. It’s often really difficult to disconnect from our phones or YouTube but having it in your workspace sets you up for distractions. Distractions lead to procrastination, which then leads to late assignments and more stress. Set a timer. Give yourself adequate time to target that assignment goal you’ve set and then reward yourself with some social engagement either online or in person.
  • Figure out when you are the most productive. Do you function better at night when it’s quieter? Or do you prefer to be an early riser and get things done early so you can take care of other things like work in the latter part of the day? Everyone’s productive time is different. Think about and set your schedule to maximize your potential and your focus.

College is full of transitions, challenges and new learning opportunities. It is never too late to implement organizational changes to help you get back on track.

For more tips and ideas check out these apps and articles.

by Karla Silva-Park, LMHC, NCC