Tuesday, November 19, 2013

College Survival Series: Staying Afloat

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

Staying Afloat

We are right in the thick of the fall semester. Many college students struggle with this time of year - weather's getting colder, the workload is getting heavier, and for some reason, all of your professors seem to have given you giant projects and papers on the exact same day. With Thanksgiving being on it's latest possible Thursday this year, it seems like the students I work with (as well as myself) are more burned out than usual. At times like these when there are pressures from all angles, it's easy to get lost, fall behind, or just plain give up. I figured now is a more appropriate time than ever to give tips on how to stay afloat.

1. Don't lose sight of what you love to do most. 

Of course, it's important to prioritize your schoolwork when it's coming down to the end of the semester, but it's also important to keep doing the things you love, even if it's less often than you'd like. Take a 15 minute study break every couple hours to shoot some hoops, play a couple rounds of your favorite video game, or even just watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. You'll come back recharged and ready to tackle a few more hours worth of assignments!

2. Less caffeine, more H2O.

I know that sounds INSANE at this point of the year, but at a certain point, caffeine can start having adverse effects on your body, and may make it even harder to study. (Check out this article on what too much caffeine can do to your body!) Your body needs lots of water to operate at its best (we're made up of 90% water - it only makes sense, right?) so make sure you're drinking at least 2 bottles of water between every cup of coffee or can of Red Bull! (Here's an infographic on the benefits of drinking water!)

3. Keep things in one place.

When there's so much on your mind, it's easy to lose track of things, no matter how important it may be. Come up with a system to keep things for each class in one spot (binders, folders, drawers, specific piles on your bedroom floor - anything works as long as you know your system!). That way if you need a specific source for your 15 page paper that's due in 3 hours that you know you printed out, you'll know exactly where to look!

4. Work in a space that makes you feel comfortable.

Maybe not so comfortable that you'll fall asleep, but you'll want to have a place where you'll be able to work without worrying about other people, time crunches, and other distractions. When I was in college, for example, I knew that studying in the library was not a possibility for me, as many of my friends were there and I wouldn't be able to concentrate. Our library also closed at midnight, and I was often doing homework much later than that, so that big interuption of packing up my things and walking back to my dorm room really threw off my concentration. So I opted for studying in my room where I could stretch out on my bed, snack on Ramen noodles, and not worry about someone kicking me out before I was finished with my work. Keep what works best for you in mind when selecting your study space!

5. It's okay to say no!

Lots of students who are involved in activities outside their studies may feel overwhelmed with how many obligations they've gotten themselves into when it comes to crunch time. Your advisors and fellow club members know that you're a student first, so if you need a day off to catch up with your school work, or if you can't take on that extra project because you're swamped with papers and projects, they will understand if you say no! There's absolutely no need to stress yourself out even more than you already are.

I hope these tips help you get through the end of the semester!
You can do it!!! :)

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