A Friendly Reminder About Stress this Semester

At this point in the semester the assignments for each of your classes have probably started rolling in. If yours is anything like my experiences, you’ve got reading to do, papers to write, and projects to put together. It’s still early, though, so it’s important to keep yourself from stressing out.

It might seem like there are a lot of assignments coming up in the next few weeks, and then even more in the final weeks, but there is also a lot of time between now and when the semester actually ends. There is time. You will get everything finished.

For me the big thing was to keep calm and keep working. I made sure that I still did the things I liked to do so that I wouldn’t lose my marbles: I watched a movie here and there, I took walks around campus, and I spent some time with friends. While I didn’t use all of my free time doing these things, a little bit here and there really helped me keep focused when I needed to really focus.

To keep my work in line, I organized my materials and schedule by week and for the entire semester. Basically, I gave myself a layout of what kinds of assignments I had to do regularly, like posting to a class’s online messaging board about weekly reading, and which assignments would come later in the semester but would take more work, like final projects and papers.  Knowing what was coming up when, I was able to figure out what work to do during my set study times on weekdays and what I needed to spend extra time on or what I needed to start rough drafts of on the weekends and in the evening. If you keep up with your work, especially if you get it started early, there will be little room for stress.

It’s tough to get something started ahead of time when you already have three or four classes worth of work to do, but an outline is a great way to get the ball rolling without putting so much effort in that you exhaust yourself. I’ve made a post about writing an essay outline, which can apply generally to everything: get your main idea, your supporting points, and an idea of your conclusion and you’re basically done!

The obvious suggestion that I wish I never needed to suggest to my students and tutees: GO TO CLASS. It’s easy, it’s fun (more often than you might expect), and you will be better off for it, not only in school but in life, like as a human. Going to class is, first of all, going to class: you get the lecture, the information, and little extras the professor gives.

Also, it has got to be the best place for reminders about tests, papers, and other assignments. Not all professors care enough to give you a heads up, but most of them really do want their students to do well and will do what they can to make sure everyone is on track. Part of keeping up with class work is keeping up with what the professor tells you is or is not going on. Sometimes assignments will change or get cancelled, sometimes due dates get set back and if you’re not there to hear it you’ll miss it. Be there and you might get lucky enough to turn in your assignment a week later than planned.

Lastly, before or after class (generally after is better) is a great time to ask your professor any questions you might have. Whether it’s about the upcoming test, the paper you turned in but didn’t get the best grade on, or anything else concerned with the class. Showing your face doesn’t hurt either. Professors enjoy grading and planning for students they know.

As the semester wears on it might seem like there is way too much work to get done, like there is no end in sight. But after a couple weeks of final papers, tests, and projects it will suddenly be over. Stress will only make the hard work harder. Keep your head up and do the best you can. Read your books, write your essays, and put together those PowerPoints. You’ll be fine.

Remember, don’t study hard, study smart!

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