New Year, Newly Prepared Me -- Four Ways to Survive Back to School Season's Stress

Although we’re three weeks into the semester, I like to think the semester is truly starting now. Now that the excitement of new classes and seeing old and meeting new friends has died down, it’s time to get serious. I’m sure professors are starting to handout assignments like Halloween candy and the stress is ramping up.

Here are some ways I survive the stress of the year.

  1. 1. Use a planner!

    This might be annoying – but seriously, write things down. A strategy taken from my good friend Brooklynn, I use the calendar on my phone because it’s linked to my iPad, phone, and laptop. I input each of my classes for the semester as a different calendar and all of the assignments from the syllabus in the appropriate color. It has seriously made life easier to know what I’m supposed to be doing each moment of the day...which leads me to my next point.

  2. 2. Sharpen your time management skills!

    If you look closely at my calendar, I’ve allotted time for each course's readings for multiple days throughout the week. While the weekends have larger chunks for the readings, I can easily modify my day if I’ve been lucky enough to finish it during the week (self-care is still important!)

  3. 3. Find new music (or other media!)

    Nothing gets you better focused than being in your own world with great music. I have a few playlists I turn to – an extensive pop playlist for writing assignments, an indie-folk playlist for readings that require focus, and even Paramore-oriented playlists for days of high stress. Some people focus better with podcasts or even no music at all – find what works for you and capitalize on it!

  4. 4. R e s t (consistently!)

    You read that right – rest. This one gets looked over quite a bit, however, your brain functions best when it’s not running on solely coffee and anxiety. Make a consistent effort to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night and decompress for at least 10 minutes before bed – ideally without your phone. Emphasize breaks a few times a day and let your brain relax a bit. It will actually make you more productive once you end your break! (Please do end your break, my advice is useless if you sit for 5 hours scrolling on Insta.)

As a ~senior~, I like to think I’d have this down slightly. If studying in Mugar gives you anxiety (aka me), don’t do it! Find somewhere comfortable and stick to a routine that feels good for you. The semester will only increase in difficulty so it’s definitely important to capitalize on time management and all the goods to postpone that mid-semester breakdown as long as possible. Happy studying!

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