Dear Sue Z. Maroon,
This semester has been really crazy and I thought I would be able to handle everything after I had some time off during fall break, but I feel like it’s only made it worse. I have no time to sleep or eat because it takes all of my time just trying to get work done – papers, exams, presentations, everything! I’ve been absolutely miserable and now I’m just trying to keep everything together until the next break. I need some way to de-stress and still be able to get all of my work done. Do you have any advice?
Dear Stressed Mess,
I’m sure that more than half of the college feels the way that you do right now – you are by no means alone in feeling stressed out. Fortunately, there are lots of ways that you can try and relax while still being a productive student. The best way is to set priorities. Make use of an agenda book or a planner – the bookstore has some really fun ones – so that you can keep track of when everything is due and plan accordingly. By prioritizing your homework and activities you will make sure you have enough time to get everything done.
While you’re making your schedule, also plan in time for breaks. You aren’t going to do your best work if you’re stressed, so set aside time in your homework schedule for short breaks for something relaxing like coloring or video chatting with friends and family from home. It is good to study for an hour and then take 30 minute breaks to give your brain a break. By giving yourself breaks you are rewarding yourself for getting work done, and by preemptively setting an end time for your break, you won’t procrastinate as much.
Finding ways to make doing homework more enjoyable can also help relieve your stress. People have different methods of getting their work done, try some that could work for you: listen to music, go to the library with friends, drink tea – lavender tea is a particularly good stress reliever.
But above all, make sure you talk to your professors and let them know how you are feeling. They are here to help and – despite the amount of work they give – are concerned with your mental health. If you feel that you have too much on your plate at the moment, respectfully ask them for an extension. Most are more than willing to help and want to see you succeed.
Sue Z. Maroon