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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

Regardless of your major, you have a full plate. Sometimes, that plate feels absolutely unmanageable. We’ve all been there, and some of us may feel we are constantly there.

After almost failing my first nursing class of junior year, I had to humble myself and be brutally honest. I asked myself why I was failing, and how I could kick my study habits into high gear to pull myself out of the hole I put myself in.

For starters, I was procrastinating. What I didn’t know at the time was that procrastination can actually be a form of perfectionism (seriously! Investigate it.) I pushed off studying by completing assignments that were less important, I succumbed to the infamous FOMO, and I constantly underestimated the amount of time and effort it would take me to get everything done. Oh, and I lacked basic time management and prioritization skills. 

I ended up passing that nursing class by the skin of my teeth, only because I put my time in studying. I realized I never, ever wanted to put myself under that stress again, if it can be avoided or at least somewhat minimized. As a result, I formed habits that have *so far* gotten me to my last semester of nursing school. Here are some of the habits and organizational skills that I formed and try my best to maintain.

Use an agenda book or planner & have a designated spot to list your assignments

Shout out to my roommate for teaching me this tip. I used to put all my assignments I wanted to accomplish for the day in my planner, but I realized it helped me more if I used my planner to map out my day to day time, and a separate little notebook to plan my assignments. Typically, I write out everything I need to accomplish in my week. Then, I prioritize it and list out what I would like to accomplish each day.

Be honest with how much time you will need to accomplish tasks

One of my biggest flaws is underestimating the amount of time it will take me to accomplish things. I will list five tasks to accomplish in a day, then be upset when I only get two of them done. I had to be honest with myself about how much time it takes for little things (walking to the library, getting settled, checking emails, etc.) as well as how much time it takes to get an assignment done. It can be tough to estimate, but a general rule of thumb is to give yourself some more time than you may think.

Recognize how much time you spend on distractions

Even when I put myself on the silent floor, in a private study room, I found I was not getting much done. I realized how much time I spent and how often I checked my phone. Recently, I started to shut it off or leave it somewhere safe when I truly needed to focus. When you don’t have it readily at your fingertips, you may realize just how much you check your phone based on how many times you feel the urge to do so!


Study space is extremely important to me. I need to spread out my materials around me and I cannot have distractions. Find a spot you can truly focus, whether it be your own desk or the library! Unfortunately for me, this means I cannot really study at home- too many distractions for me!

College is challenging. Managing time and getting organized can help you manage the stress of demanding courses. It may not eliminate your stress, but it can help you lessen the burden of it. Remember that we truly are capable of so much more than we think!

Tatiana Cleffi is a writer for the Her Campus chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP,) who enjoys writing about her personal experiences, particularly in regards to her Latin culture. She is a senior nursing student who is eager to graduate in December 2023. Tatiana is passionate about bridging the language gap in the healthcare setting. She studied medical Spanish abroad to become better equipped to provide nursing care to a diverse range of patients. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys visiting her husband in Costa Rica, going to the beach, singing on the worship team at her church, and eating pumpkin pie.