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Mental Health

How to Pass: Studying Tips from an Expert Procrastinator

This year, 2020 has by no means been easy. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat hoping that the online classes would automatically mean easier grades. Unfortunately, it seems as if I grossly underestimated how much work I needed to do to accomplish this. As of now, I am trying to build myself up more into actually doing work, rather than being glued to my phone all the time. With finals week coming soon, I have been under even more pressure. As a matter of fact, I actually put off writing this article.

It seems as if the world is moving at a faster pace than I am, nowadays. Days feel like months and the months feel like days. For the time being, I’m working on being more present. With a clear conscience and mind, I want to look forward to the future and be optimistic. I can only learn how to be better with time management. So here are the do’s and don’t’s of time management.

DO: Make a Study Schedule.

As a student, only you know what is best for you when it comes to time management. You’re the only person who could possibly know how you learn course material best. Also, every class will require a different commitment. Some will be an easy A, as long as you do your assignments on time. Some classes will require you to study at least 1 or 2 hours each day. On the other hand, it is easy to get distracted. 

DO: Ditch the Phone. 

Between social media, calling and texting, you will never be able to make time to get your work done. There are some apps you can use that reward you for spending time focusing on anything but the phone. There’s an app called Flora, where you can set a time limit to focus on anything you want. For each goal you achieve, you get the reward of growing your own virtual tree. If you use the bonus feature, your contributions will go to planting a real tree for virtual tree you grow. You can also invest in a phone jail, a box to lock away your phone for a certain time. 


DO: Take Time to Take Care of Yourself.  

When your mind is not right, nothing else will be. Give yourself a certain amount of time devoted to self care, sleep and whatever else you think you need. However, when you make a study schedule with goals to accomplish that day, make sure you stick to it. There’s a difference between self-care and wasting time. When you’re in a place where you can get back to work, get back to work until you’re done with your daily goals.

DO: Make Your Life Easier.

When you’re behind on notes, I’d strongly recommend you consider how much time it takes to catch up, rather than doing what you think you’re supposed to do. If you didn’t go to the lecture, don’t stres. Copy and paste the notes from the lecture onto a Google Doc or Word document. That way, when there’s anything you don’t know, the "Ctrl + F" function comes in clutch. 

DON'T: Beat Yourself Up.

In the past, when I have procrastinated and put things off, the main reason wasn’t to avoid studying. When I study, it can feel very frustrating and draining because I had a hard time understanding. I think coming into college, I was under a lot of stress, because being behind made my feel inferior. Just because you’re behind in a class does not mean at all that you don’t belong there. Rather than beating yourself up about it, figure out how to learn the material or at least act like you know your sh*t.

DON'T: Sacrifice Yourself and Your Health for School.

I can tell you right now that school and the degree will never be worth the detriment of you and your self-worth. Maybe the professor doesn’t understand that you have your own obligations outside the class, but I most certainly do. Now, it seems as if some, but not all, instructors are more concerned with catching students than they are actually teaching. But that does not make it okay to give yourself up for the sake of a grade. At the end of the day, a grade is a letter on a piece of paper. This semester has been the first time in my life that I’ve looked at school for what it is. I love learning, I just disagree with grades are assessed as the barometer of intelligence. 

Just know that whatever you do, school is a place of learning. Once you fall behind, it's hard to catch back up, but don't ever lose yourself for a higher grade. Stay safe, be well, and enjoy this break coming up. 

Hello! My name is Tayo Omoniyi, and I am from Tinley Park, Illinois. I am a 2nd-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying Biology with a pre-medicine track. My passions are writing, travel and medicine. My ultimate career goal is to become a pediatric doctor. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family and friends. I have two younger sisters.
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