1. Going to lectures
It sounds easy, but most people don’t attend their lectures. And we get it. Sometimes it’s the only thing you have on that day and it seems like a waste of time. But going to your lecture in person means that you’re definitely up-to-date with your classes, and you won’t end up trying to cram a ridiculous amount of brand-new information into your brain come assessment-time.
2. Prepare for your classes
Part of this is being up to date on your previous classes. But depending on what you study, there’s also readings to do and questions to answer. Keeping up to date with all of this will make your life easier. You’ll get more out of your classes and won’t risk getting on your teacher’s bad side.
3. Make a calendar
Forget polaroids and fairy lights, your bare dorm walls need a calendar!
But seriously, having a visual display of your assessment for the semester will make managing your work load a hell of a lot easier. You can also throw in any club events, birthdays or other events that you want to keep track of too. If you can’t get your hands on a physical calendar, some people make their own in excel and print it out!
4. Start your assignments when you get them
Even if it’s just writing down some ideas for what you could write about or planning a rough structure, making any kind of small start on your assignment when you get it will make it seem like less of a huge task to deal with later on. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.
5. If that fails, try to complete them a week early so you can edit them
If you want to avoid the stress of doing your assignment on the day it’s due, one trick some students use is to mark their assignment due date on their calendar a week earlier than it actually is. Having an extra week to edit your work will make a world of difference to both your GPA and mental health.
6. Make a study group
Get a bunch of your friends together, grab some snacks, and form a study group. You don’t even have to study the same things, but just having someone holding you accountable for the work you’re doing can be helpful. You can motivate each other to study and you’ll have someone to talk through any ideas for assessment you have.
If you do study the same thing, it can also be helpful to have someone readily available to talk through any confusing concepts with. BUT, make sure not to share your assignments with each other or work too closely. That’s called collusion, and I don’t recommend it.
7. Meal Prep
The stereotype of the poor student exists for a reason. We’re not only cash poor, but most of us are time poor as well from the whole balancing class, a job and a social life thing. The solution? Meal prep! Planning your meals for the week means you’ll probably spend less money on groceries because you know exactly what you need, and it means you’ll spend less money on eating out too. Spending those few hours on the weekend or minutes the night before means that you’ll have more time during the day to get on with your life. It also means you’ll probably eat healthier, which will mean you’ll feel better and will probably function better throughout the day and get more work done.
I’m not telling you to hit the gym everyday and do hours of cardio or weights, but doing some small physical activity every day will improve your mental and physical health and you’ll feel better and be more productive. Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to downtown from campus instead of taking the bus are easy ways to get some physical activity into your day. And maybe hit the gym a few times a week. Or go for a run through the arboretum!
9. Get a good amount of sleep every night
Try to get eight hours of sleep a day. And no, sleeping for twelve hours one day doesn’t make up for sleeping four another. Studies show that a moderate level of sleep deprivation leaves you as impaired as if you were drunk, so writing that assignment on no sleep probably isn’t a great idea and I don’t recommend going through your average day in that state either.
A good way to practice this is to integrate it into your morning routine. Starting your day off with a spot of yoga, meditation or stretching will make sure you go into every day with a clear head. Another way to practice mindfulness is to take up journaling, however that may present itself to you. Some people find writing down their thoughts at the end of the day therapeutic, while others find writing down what they’re grateful for each day for beneficial.
Good luck with the semester!