With midterm season in full swing, it’s important to recognize just how difficult managing your time and energy really is. Overschedule yourself and you’ll get burnt out in a matter of days. Procrastinate and you’ll be scrambling to finish assignments on time. There is a miniscule happy medium that honestly still eludes my knowledge. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way so far:
1. Break down your assignments into daily, weekly, and monthly
Knowing exactly when your assignments are due and your tests are will help you to better delegate tasks to yourself as you can find times to socialize and do extracurriculars in between those understated periods. It’s important to make time for yourself amidst the chaos as difficult as it may seem.
2. Step away if you need to
Sometimes when you’re studying for a subject you find difficult, and the information isn’t seeping in the way it’s supposed to, it’s best to let your brain rest for a couple of hours. If you don’t let yourself take breaks, you’ll struggle as assignments and tests roll around to remember crucial information because you weren’t absorbing it properly. Studies have shown that long term retention is linked to studying earlier rather than cramming, so you should allow yourself plenty of time to account for those breaks.
3. Know when to say “no”
Extracurriculars are a great resume builder and often are very rewarding when it comes to truly understanding time management, but your schoolwork should ALWAYS come before anything else. Sometimes you really want to go out to eat with your friends but if you find yourself in a cram session, you might want to go with the good ol’ microwave mac and cheese (a vital investment during heavier workloads!) instead of making the trip and sitting down. Sometimes when your sorority needs a little bit of extra help with an event, it’s okay to let someone else take the initiative so you can prioritize more effectively.
4. Pay a little bit more attention to subjects you’re struggling in
Let’s say you have two tests in one day- you have one class which you have a solid A in, the other a B-. The B- class should require a little bit of extra care so make sure to account for extra time in between studying for class A’s exam.
5. Take breaks!
When you’re planning out your work sessions- make sure to take time for yourself. Studying straight through more than 3 hours at a time is not helping you after the fact- make sure to let your brain breathe through the pressure. Mental health (and often physical health) are crucial to a successful college career and should be one of your top priorities throughout the process. Allow yourself breaks- whether it’s a 20 minute break or a 2 hour break- anything helps, really.