The first step to manage your stress throughout the school year is to be in control of your academic responsibilities. If you receive your syllabi from your professors before the first day of class, read through it carefully and note important deadlines and exam dates. Keep track of those dates in a paper or digital planner so you can note when certain projects and timelines will overlap, or when you might have scheduling conflicts because of work or family obligations.
Don’t wait until you receive your first reading assignment to head to the bookstore. Reach out to your instructors a few weeks before school starts and ask for a list of required reading materials. This small step shows that you’re willing to take initiative, and also gives you extra time to buy or rent your textbooks, or request a copy from the library. If you’re feeling motivated, read through the first chapter to become acquainted with course material before your first class.
The addition of school work, classes and commuting can be overwhelming at first, especially when you’re already juggling work and family responsibilities. Adding classes to your weekly schedule will force you to establish a morning and evening routine that allows you to stay refreshed and focused all day. When you are adjusted to your new routine, you’ll be better able to manage your schoolwork in addition to other responsibilities.
Drinking two litres of water a day and having a sleep schedule has drastically improved my focus and ability to concentrate, but more so having a set plan already in place, I no longer open my books and waste precious time wondering what to do or where to focus. I can look at my chart and see exactly what I need to do and get started straight away.
After all the hard work, it’s very rewarding to cross off the topics on your calendar to show how far you have come. This can help keep you on track and stay motivated and give you the best chance of success.
Making the extra effort to prepare for your first few weeks of school will help set the tone for a productive semester and put you on the right track towards achieving your goals.
A few of my friends are also studying, not at the same university or even the same course, but having other friends who I can ‘study buddy’ with or check in, keeps us all determined and on track. Scheduling in catch-up time can give much needed respite without panic. This keeps your goals realistic and manageable.