Many students have a certain perception of college before ever setting foot in one. A ‘college bias’ – positive, negative or neutral – take your pick? It is the chapter of your life that practically every student looks forward to. New beginnings, new opportunities to make friends, living your social life to the fullest and finally having the chance to start your future career.
While you may see social media posts about college life and what it could look like, that unfortunately is not always the case. College will bring its own stressful years ahead; the continuous assessments, fear of having to repeat an exam/year, turning the library into your second home whilst spending long evenings and early mornings there – it takes a lot more determination than you may think. Therefore, it is important to know how to combat obstacles at an early stage to avoid disruption at a later phase, learning self-discipline and dedication to your studies in order realise your new career after your time in college is completed.
Thinking about what college you would like to attend brings about its own challenges and stresses. Pathway can help with that stress here – a lot. Unfortunately, the stress does not end when you start college. Secondary school and college are two very different environments, and it is quite hard to grasp that concept in the first few months. To make your college experience as stress-free as possible, it is important to learn how to avoid stressful times once you set foot on campus for the first time.
If you were to ask any college student what the most stressful thing about college is? 90% will respond with “assignment deadlines and exams”. Having one deadline can be stressful but having multiple deadlines for various modules all due for the same time, that is when it starts to get tough. Therefore, you must prepare yourself in advance, to be aware and ready to tackle these obstacles first-hand.
1. How to Manage Deadlines
If you want to avoid stressful situations when it comes to deadlines, it is up to you to use your time wisely, starting by making an effective study schedule. The continuous lectures on top of assignments every day can be quite overwhelming, however they are manageable when the time is being used carefully.
Create a schedule, plan out the week ahead, list any important dates you have for deadlines and make sure you dedicate a couple of hours every week to that task. It is almost next to impossible to learn when you’re under pressure, as the clock is constantly ticking. Everyone loses track of time and that deadline will creep up on you before you even know it. This is when cramming starts to happen and panic sets in.
As mentioned above, college is very different to school. There are serious consequents for things such as plagiarism. In situations like these, having a clear schedule allows you to understand the task at hand, work to your best ability and in turn provide work that is your own and on time.
2. How to Avoid Overloading Yourself
Another way to avoid stressful situations in college is to not overload yourself. Plan out your work schedule weeks in advanced. One problem that a lot of students have is that they are provided with deadlines weeks in advance of the due date and yet still manage to leave the work until the night before it is due to complete it. This is not beneficial in the long-term. If you spend the entire college experience leaving your course work until the night before, most of the time something will go wrong, and it will be too late to do anything about it. Trying to complete coursework with the clock ticking against you, can and will bring unbearable stress. Late submissions can result in a reduction of marks and that is certainly not something anyone would like. By spacing out your work throughout the week, you will have enough time to spend on each assignment, doing the necessary research and performing to your best ability.
3. Picking a Suitable Study Environment
To get into the right mindset to study and prepare for your work, it is advisable to work in a quiet environment, whether this be in the library, at home or even in a coffee shop. Having a clear desk in a quiet room/environment will encourage you to take the time and complete the work you must do. This will ensure that you complete your academic workload sooner rather than later.
What stops many students from completing their work before it is due is procrastination, i.e. delaying a task that should be done straight away, and unfortunately this is why students leaving their academic work until the night before the deadline. Of course, if you are not in a comfortable and organised environment, your concentration will reduce. For this specific reason, having a clear space is the equivalent to having a clear mind.
4. Importance of Sleeping Each Night
Most importantly, get the rest that you need. Experts have said that up to 60% of college students are sleep deprived. Being sleep deprived can result in not paying attention in class or not attending classes and falling behind on notes and assignments, causing yourself unnecessary stress. In times like this, it is vital to have a schedule and stick to it.
You need a full eight hours of sleep every night. This may be hard to do because of the busy late nights and early mornings, but it is in your best interests to work around it. Take naps during the day if you are feeling tired or did not sleep enough the night before. Be careful not to spend too long napping as it could result in not sleeping properly again during the night. Getting the recommended hours of sleep every night will allow the development of creative thinking and heighten your attention in class, which then stimulates the brain to strengthen our memory for the day ahead, therefore working at a peak performance.
Your college experience will be full of highs and lows. It is up to you to try and avoid experiencing the lows of college as much as possible. Develop a routine that you know you will stick to for the semester. Yes, reading this may have been daunting and you are now probably thinking if college is even worth it, but one thing that is always important to keep in mind is that nothing worth having comes easy. In life everything must balance out. The good times will outweigh the bad and yes, do not worry, there will be many good times in college. Therefore, if you want to continue to do well after college, you must tackle the obstacles that come your way whilst you are still in college.
Main points outlined in this article:
- Have an effective study schedule to avoid missing deadlines & assignments.
- Plan when to do assignments to avoid overloading yourself with work.
- Create the appropriate environment to help you avoid procrastination.
- Getting sufficient rest each night to mitigate against sleep deprivation, to ensure you are performing to your best ability.