So what is the key to getting better grades without stressing yourself out? The answer: Getting organized. Provided that you are content with your study program, a clear structure for everyday university life is fundamental to balancing all your obligations, which may include studying, a part-time job and a social life of course! After all, college is supposed to be fun too, right? If you find yourself struggling to keep up, it might be time to take matters into your own hands and get organized!
The reasons why students feel overwhelmed or miss important deadlines, especially when starting college, can be varied. For many, this new milestone signifies growing up and leaving home and tackling all the obligations which come with it, such as: Paying bills, doing laundry and cooking your own meals. Suddenly the to-do lists seem endless. However, not all is lost. With these simple tips, you can quickly bring more structure into your life:
1. Create a weekly schedule: Your life will be significantly easier if you keep track of where you need to be and when. We’re not only talking about lectures and doctor’s appointment, but also workouts and social activities with friends. If you divide up your week to balance work and play, you’ll not only have a better overview of how much time you have to complete additional tasks, for example, you’ll also feel more well-rounded. For the creation of your weekly schedule, pocket calendars or wall calendars work great. If you’re more team digital, you can use the calendar function or these student apps on your smartphone. If they don’t help with time management, we don’t know what will.
2. Record appointments and deadlines consistently: If you’re trying to keep up with your obligations in your head, while a million other thoughts are flying around, chances are that you will forget something. Make it a habit to keep your weekly schedules up to date and be sure to check back consistently. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even set alarm reminders on your phone, for super important events. Remember the basic rule: Everything you don’t have to remember, relieves you and your memory.
3. Plan in advance: Once keeping a planner and a schedule has become a little more routine, you can also use some of the extra time to beginning noting big exam deadlines or due papers, including start dates for assignments, so that you can ensure everything is completed in time and you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Not every lecture will demand all your attention and blow your mind. It’s normal that every subject has its highlights and less exciting topics, which all belong to the package. However, you can still use this time in lectures and seminars wisely, and we’ll tell you how to do so in the following section.
1. Take notes: If you invest some time and effort in taking notes ( which you can read and understand later), you’ll save yourself some preparation time for any upcoming papers or exams. If something difficult comes up or you notice that your focus was a little off during class, you can always go back and read your notes.
2. Actively participate: Don’t worry, we don’t intend to imply that you need to become the next teacher’s pet. However, if you are going to be forced to sit in a lecture, you might as well make the most of it by sparking interesting discussions by sharing opinions and asking relevant questions. Put your phone away as well and you’ll notice that your memory retention for the session will have improved.
3. Sort your documents: Whether you take notes by hand, tablet or laptop – Order is half the battle. Block out regular time slots in your calendar to file everything related to your courses, such as handouts, by topic. Then, when exams are just around the corner, you can save yourself the tedious and nerve-racking task of gathering all the material you need to revise. On your computer, it’s worth having a clear folder structure and a separate inbox folder for e-mails related to your courses. In addition, if you have electronically stored data, you should also consider cloud solutions or other options for data backup. Safe is safe!
Stress often tends to peak towards the end of the semester when papers are being written and exams are being sat. While it’s almost a right of passage to pull an all-nighter, it certainly doesn’t make the process any easier so here are some tips from us.
1. Start on time: This point has been repeated time & time again, but we’re completely serious about it. With the certain feeling of having started on time and having invested enough effort in studying, you will go into an exam with a completely different attitude and confidence. Particularly if you are prone to experiencing exam anxiety. Though ‘diamonds are made under pressure’, we need to remember we are only human!
2. Write a priority list: A priority list could entail anything from checking certain books out of the library or participating in a study session. Once you have that set up, you will be able to schedule the required time for each task accordingly and you will be sure that all the crucial tasks are completed first.
3. Discover your learning method: People learn differently. Therefore, it is important to know which learning environments and methods help you perform most effectively during your studies. Taking regular breaks and eating well are just the beginning.
We hope that you’ve found these tips helpful. Good time management and self-organization also helps you to avoid stress during your studies. For more advice on this topic, check out our article on stressmanagement for students.