By Jasanna Sevier
As the semester starts up and deadlines are already staring you down, it is important to take a step back and reevaluate yourself. Are you already drowning in the responsibilities of your course load? Or are you going through each day painfully waiting for the night so you can sleep or relieve some stress? It is way too easy to burn out at college, no matter what year you are. Stress is one of the biggest issues at college that people don’t attempt avoid or alleviate until their suffering in it. I have listed some ways that I have found helpful during my many years at Rutgers.
ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE!
First things first, organization is the most important way to combat the hectic college life. If you do not have a planner or calendar yet, I recommend getting one as soon as possible. There is the free and easy Google Calendar or you can choose from one of the many apps out there. A lack of organization and time management can be the death of your gpa and sanity. The semester goes by faster than you think and before you realize, you have two projects and a paper due all in one week. Scheduling out your week relieves so much pressure and anxiety that builds up when you think about all of your tasks and you get to acknowledge how much time you may waste in a day when you could be productive.
Me-time is very precious and there are people that don’t think they need it and there are people that abuse it. When you bust out your planner and fill in time to do homework and study, jot in some time for yourself. Exercise, take a nap, play 2k17, binge on Netflix, but don’t get carried away. Taking mental breaks is very important to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with being a college student. On the other hand, taking too many breaks just leads to procrastination and that creates more stress.
Have a Support System on lock
Whether it includes your parents, adviser, roommates or best friends, have people that you can vent and express your emotions with. When you begin feeling overworked, depressed or anxious, talking it out is much healthier than internalizing it. These things can lead you to a deeper state of depression and some devastating consequences.
Also acknowledge the friends that you have similar classes to and that are also on top of their work. Being able to study with a peer that is as focused and dedicated to you is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is crucial to know when to chill and when to be serious and productive.
Whether you are willing to admit it or not, we all have those friends that you can not study around and won’t keep you focused. It’s nothing to do with their character but maybe they have a lighter course load than you and can afford to slack off and don’t consider the fact that you can’t. It is important to to know which friends fall under than category and be mindful of this.
Friends don’t let friends fail!
You are in college for a reason and throughout the day, your time and energy are of value. Decline an invitation out or skip a general meeting if you need to so that you can do what you need to do. Don’t feel obligated to help everyone out if it costs you your sanity.
Make Small Goals Instead of Large Goals
Doing things in smaller portions helps you balance your time wisely. It makes you feel good about yourself after you fulfill a personal promise so if you make many small promises and do them, that will significantly increase your mood. Big goals always sound great and easy until you’re halfway through it and no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, you may feel unmotivated to continue because it’s all too much now. For example, it’s easier to write two pages a day for a 10 page paper due than to write five pages a day or all 10 pages the day it’s due. This is another instance when a planner helps organize your week and you can schedule in your small goals when needed.
Stress in college is bound to creep in from somewhere but you must be mindful in managing it because no one is going to for you. Start making mental notes of what things worked best for you in the past and what you have to work on. Making a habit to check in and improve your mental health is crucial as an undergrad and beyond.