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How To Not Get Overwhelmed in College

A lot of people start college with excitement and nervousness as they dream of getting the degree needed to get their dream job. But yet, a lot of college freshmen end up repeating a year (the federal student loan only provides for four years) and can even end up not finishing. If you are afraid that this may be what you become, then you should read about the non-academic ways to make sure that you actually graduate.

Time Management

Keep a planner. That’s it. A to-do list is a good first step, but the problem is that your days are much less structured and harder to tell when to do stuff and what to do. You know when your classes are, but do you know when you’re going to study for that test, or how long? Don’t devote too much time to studying for the test, because you also have to read that book for one of your classes, and your teacher has been giving tests on them. But you also want to spend time with friends, and while you do probably have enough time for it, you don’t know when all of you can meet, or for how long. And if it takes too long, you’ll pull an all-nighter, and you get what I’m saying.

Keep a weekly planner that shows the hours of the days and block out time stuff that can’t be moved (classes and work shifts, as well as events) then put in the time you can do work and study. You do this by timing yourself doing work, like an hour for reading 45 pages, 25 minutes for the math problems. Then, you can schedule friends in the off-hours. But life stuff WILL happen and disrupt your schedule. It always does, so just get back on the horse, and try again. Overestimate how long something will take you so you can plan for the worst and hope for the best, especially in the case of life stuff happening.

Know Your body clock

In high school, you woke up at the latest time you could while still being able to shower and eat breakfast (most days) and get to school on time. At college, you pick your classes and what time to do them. Even if you know whether you’re a morning person or someone who sees 10 o’clock as the morning, it’s still hard to figure it out the first year because you don’t know how short you can make taking a shower, breakfast, and then run to class. You don’t know whether you want to do homework right after class, an hour before class, or whether you can have two classes in a row and still concentrate. In addition, you don’t know whether you can do all your work in the evening, or whether you will just Netflix and chill or go somewhere with your friends. So take note, whether typed, written, or mental. Figure out whether you can do three clubs along with a full-time schedule or whether you need to drop some. Nobody’s perfect the first semester of their first year, but if you figure this stuff out now, you will be able to do much better in the other semesters.

Electronics Nighttime Light Change

Whether you’re browsing the internet or typing up an essay, it’s important to regulate your time on computers. There are a lot of apps for both PCs and phones to make sure that you don’t stay up till 1:30 AM. What they do is that they start changing the color of the screen so you can go to sleep straight after using the computer, allowing you to fall asleep quicker and not raise the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other disorders The one that I use is flux, and it allows me to set the earliest time I wake up, delay it for an hour, or the work late mode.

Meditate and Zoning Out

No one is 100% prepared for college coming in and dealing with unexpected curveballs is a part of life, so we should deal with them and grow from them, even if we don’t do as well the first time. One thing that can help you with this is managing calm even in hectic times. If you practice mindfulness and spirit-cultivating practices when the going is smooth and build it up as a habit, then it’s easier to maintain during finals, breakups, and black swan crises.

 This can be done in a variety of ways. Maybe it’s walking around campus and focusing on the nature of your surroundings, or perhaps you meditate for ten minutes in the morning or at lunch break and just breathe in and out while keeping your mind calm as well by acknowledging thoughts and then letting them go. Not only does doing things like these help you calm yourself down, but they also help you grow your focus and single-tasking ability. People get much more work done if you do one thing at a time and devote all your focus on it rather than doing superficial work on multiple things and only giving a fraction of your attention to each thing. It may be hard at first, but the more you do it, the more it works. Multitasking just gives you the feeling of being busy, and therefore productive, rather than having you accomplish more.

Exercise

Exercise is one of those things that everyone wants to have done, but no one wants to do, or at least that’s how it’s seen. Even among the non-athletes, exercise can be very fun when done right, or at least your version of right. Even the sickliest children have enjoyed being in a playground, so it’s not a thing that you are totally new to, just something that you haven’t engaged with in a long time. Like a relative, you loved as a kid, but then they moved away before only recently coming back to a different you. Exercise may come in a different way when you were a kid, but all that means is to find a way that suits you. I do jogging while listening to music, while you may want to do basketball, lift weights, or do yoga. You may decide on something that you weren’t able to do before college, like going to a gym for good machines or swim in a pool, but that’s also no problem. You can decide what to do based on your level of expertise or based on how many people you want to do it with. You can join a Division I, II, III, join a club, or just regularly play basketball with your friends on the court. Or jump rope, or anything that you want to do. Just do it regularly, and have fun.

Born and raised in Manhattan, I now go to Ithaca College as a Psychology major. I love reading, writing, learning, and Her Campus provides an outlet for that.
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