How to Survive a Crazy Busy Semester

It's that time of year again. The weather is cold, the days are short, schoolwork is mounting, and stress levels are already through the roof. Two weeks into the semester, and we are already contemplating dropping a class, skipping class, or going into hibernation for the rest of the winter and coming out when spring arrives. Don't worry; HC is here to help! Here are some tips that can help you get through this semester if you find yourself incredibly busy and stressed.

 

1. Learn how to say "no"

Sometimes it becomes tempting to try to do everything available, especially when you have friends telling you to join certain clubs or asking you to go into Boston on the weekends. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that 6 classes + a sport + 4 extracurriculars leaves ZERO time for anything extra. Be aware of how much you can handle, and choose your activities accordingly. It's ok to tell people no occasionally!

2. When you struggle saying no, find other ways to save time

I actually cannot say "no" to doing more work, which is how I always find myself in the position of being incredibly busy with zero free time. Extra class? Sure. Another extracurricular for my resume? You bet. Additional responsibility or a leadership position? Absolutely. It therefore becomes crucial to make how I spend my time as efficient as possible. For example, scheduling classes back to back means I only have to walk up the Smith Stairs once a day and I save the wasted time I otherwise would have in between classes. Instead of sitting for long periods of time and talking at meals, I try to eat quickly and leave. Making your schedule more efficient is a great way to fit more into each day and reduce stress.  

3. Get better at reading

When reading the textbook or articles for class, turn your phone off and limit distractions so that you can read quicker. For many classes, thorough reading is not necessary so long as you are able to grasp the main points from skimming. The key is figuring out the points that the author is trying to make and noting the main ideas and anything you find interesting. For a class that requires participation and assignments, but doesn't have tests, make sure you come to class with unique points to bring up. For classes with tests, more thorough note-taking is necessary but don't fall into the habit of writing down every definition you come across. Read a couple pages, then try to summarize the most important ideas into a few sentences in your own words. Try to imagine what questions you would create from the material if you were the professor. Then take notes on the parts of the material that you aren't sure you will remember without review.

 

4. Don't forget to exercise!

No matter how busy or stressed you become, taking time to go to the gym is essential. There are numerous studies to back up that exercise helps you perform better academically. Exercise can also be a great way to release pent-up anxiety, not to mention being a crucial part of keeping you healthy and in shape. Instead of watching Netflix on your couch, go to the gym and bike while you watch it on your phone. This is a great way to do two activities at once and can give you a much needed break from schoolwork.

Good luck with the spring semester!

 

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