As this week comes to an end, I’m faced with quite the dilemma – I start the spring semester of my sophomore year of college in a week! WHAT. Where did these past three weeks go? More importantly though, how do I mentally prepare myself to be stressed out 24/7 once again? Thankfully, I was blessed with the super power of organization or else I’d be spending these next few days underneath my comforter with a tub of ice cream, a spoon and my tears. However, I am truly aware that not all of us are the most organized people in the world (trust me, it is an acquired trait to most, including me) so pull up a seat and grab your pens & pencils because we are diving head first into SFS 101 or rather, “Stress Free Semester: The Basics”.
Tip #1: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. (& when you don’t feel like planning, plan even more!): Honestly, do it. One of my smartest investments was in a planner. I write down everything it it – from small reading assignments to my finals to game days and date nights. NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING, gets left behind. Did I mention that I always have it on hand because if dates get moved and modified, I always have it with me so I’m always ahead of the game. Trust me on this one guys, it’s a total lifesaver.
Tip #2: Have a designated study area and make it a habit of only studying there: Whether it be your desk or a study lounge or the library, have a place (or places) that you associate cracking open the dusty books in your desk at. I personally study best at my desk because I have everything I could possibly need to help the process within an arms reach. Also, please beware of the “bed trap”. I know you guys are probably like, “what on Earth is she even saying?” and trust me, I get it but you probably have never heard of the infamous “bed trap” because honestly, I just made it up. However, it is a very real phenomenon – STUDYING ON YOUR BED HARDLY WORKS. You associate your bed with sleeping or relaxing, not focusing and learning. So, unless you have a designated study bed, I doubt that will be a great idea. But hey, you can always hang out on it during study breaks!
Tip #3: If you need help, don’t hesitate to get it: I know personally that it is so frustrating trying to learn something that looks like a whole different language to you. The good thing is that there are so so so many resources out there that can help you decipher even the hardest material. Whether you ask your teachers/professors directly, go to review sessions, ask a friend or look online, you are bound to figure out whatever is holding you back. Also, DO NOT WAIT TILL THE LAST MINUTE TO DO THIS. If you are struggling with a concept, figure it out as soon as possible because you do not want to spend the night before an exam relearning rather than reviewing. Lastly, it is not “embarrassing” or a “shot to your ego” if you have to seek help – it’s actually quite the opposite. I would much rather be able to understand the material and get a higher grade than put up a front when I’m really struggling and get marked down. Trust me, getting help will benefit you and (for the most part) only you.
Tip #4: Always attend class, be prepared and ready to learn: C’mon guys, this really shouldn’t have to be on this list but unfortunately it is so easy to skip class (especially in college) and find distractions that divert your attention from learning. The truth of the matter is that, for the most part, class material builds off of previous lessons so skipping can throw you into the deepest part of the ocean with an anchor tied to your ankle. You don’t have to physically skip class to not be there either; zoning out, online shopping or browsing social media is not going to help you pass your finals or learn anything. Classes tend to only be an hour long anyway so just make it a goal to be there, learn the material and be on your way. (Unless your truly sick – then please be courteous of others and stay home and let your body rest. This is the ONLY exception)
& Lastly, Tip #5: Sleep well, eat well and well, drink lots of water: I know you guys are secretly wondering why I am including this and while it may not seem like it is directly correlated to being a less-stressed student, it is. The better you take care of yourself, the less stressed you feel and the happier you’ll, most likely, be. Sleep helps your body regulate itself, fight germs, and your mind processes what you’ve learned while you are catching those Z’s so DO NOT take it for granted. I promise that as beneficial as pulling an all-nighter sounds, you’ll be struggling the next day and your mind will be cloudy and groggy (been there, done that). Also eating all the right things for your body are a must, just Google “brain food” and you’ll find a whole new world of snacks that can actually help you focus better and process information more efficiently. A greasy slice of pizza always sounds like a good idea but, then again, so does a degree.
So there you have it! These are the top 5 things I swear by throughout each new semester and I hope you all will come to find that they are some solid pieces of advice. Stress is something that we all have to deal with but if we are able to combat it just a little bit then we are left with a world of difference. As for organization and study tips? We’ll tackle that in the next lesson.
Thank you for sticking around with me and until next time, happy studying!