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Falling Behind on Classwork? Here’s How to Catch Up

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Is it just me, or has this semester flown by? While August 23rd seems like it was just last week, the reality is that the first day of the fall semester was almost seven weeks ago! With the semester going by so quickly, it is easy to miss a reading here or a lecture there. Between doing classwork, participating in extracurriculars, and trying to maintain a social life, a small task is bound to slip through the cracks. However, these tiny to-dos can add up and cause some extra stress. If you have found yourself in this familiar situation, don’t worry! Here are five simple fixes that can help you catch up in a calming way. (For some added convenience, each tip starts with the letter T. As you can see, my middle school alliteration lesson is paying off):

1. Settle on a time to catch up

Is there a day of the week that is free for you? Or at least a day that only has one or two commitments? For me, Mondays are my most flexible day this semester, free of due dates and responsibilities. Look for a day during your week that only has a small amount of class periods, social responsibilities or extracurricular tasks. Then, block off a portion of this day to be a catch-up day. Maybe you do not have any events on Thursdays, so you decide to set apart time on Thursday mornings to simply catch up. Google Calendar girls can add a time block to their catch-up period so that they can be sure that it remains untouched. If you’re a physical calendar girl like me, you can write “catch-up day” on your chosen date as a reminder. Regardless of what method you choose, be sure to set aside time to catch up and stick to it!

2. Decide on the task(s)that you need to complete

You probably already have an idea of the coursework that you tend to get behind in most frequently. Maybe you feel like you can’t keep up with the reading assigned in your anthropology class or you’ve missed several lectures in your genetics class. Write down or type out a master list of all the little readings, lectures, or activities that you need to complete. This might be overwhelming but don’t worry about how long the list is. The important thing is that you are taking steps to make the list smaller! 

3. Take the master list that you just created and make it tangible

Looking at vague tasks that you need to accomplish can be stressful. Break down these tasks into more realistic activities. For instance, jot down that you need to “Study physics modules five and six for the exam” instead of writing “Study for physics exam.” Swap “Read for Latin class” with “Read pages 114-132 of my Latin textbook.” Personally, making the big tasks tangible encourages me to complete activities because they no longer seem daunting. Go through each activity one at a time and brainstorm tangible steps that you can take to accomplish the overall goal.

4. Create a tranquil setting

This step is when the work actually happens but in an enjoyable way. Pick a tranquil spot that is enjoyable and motivating. Maybe Pascal’s Coffee is the vibe for you or perhaps you have a favorite study spot at the library. Wherever you want to study, choose an environment that is free from distractions and will inspire you to get some work done. For me, I like going to my favorite local coffee shop because it is quiet, cozy and makes a delicious iced white chocolate latte. Pair a fun atmosphere with some study music to propel you to work towards your academic goals. Many students like lofi, jazz or even instrumental versions of their favorite music. (Bonus tip: A piano instrumental version of every Taylor Swift album exists.) Now, simply open your laptop and start!

5. Choose a treat after you have completed your catch-up session!

You worked hard and you should certainly reward yourself. One treat idea is to meet up with a friend for dinner after your catch-up day. You could also set aside time to watch your favorite YouTuber or read that book that you bought because of BookTok. Not only will your treat be a reward for your diligence, but it will also motivate you while you are working during the day!

College life is hard. Students feel pressure to get good grades, complete internships, maintain a social life and have time to sleep. With all the responsibilities that students juggle, completing every single task can prove to be challenging. Students may find themselves falling behind in one class because of the tasks of another class. Or some students might be dealing with a difficult work-life balance because of a job. However, catching up is not impossible! Devote time to work on tasks that have fallen by the wayside in a meaningful way and reward yourself afterwards.

(Oh, and dont forget the five T’s: Time, Tasks, Tangible, Tranquil and Treat.)

Caroline Crews is a third-year public relations major at the University of Florida. As a PR major, she enjoys nerding out about consumer analytics and campaign design. Caroline has used her education to design social media plans for both non-profit and for-profit organizations, create targeted email campaigns, and construct the branding of several organizations. When Caroline is not immersed in the field of PR, you can find her going on a walk, spending time with friends and family, or making a pot of coffee.