Make a Schedule and Plan
Being organized in managing your time is key. Make a to-do list for each class and set up a realistic routine of what you are going to do and when. Schedule times you will work on certain tasks and do your best to stick to your plan. Make sure to be realistic with yourself and talk to yourself in kind ways! Set yourself up for success!
Reward Yourself with Breaks
If you are not able to focus, you may need to switch up your location, what you are studying, or take a break. Over-studying can lead to exhaustion, so be sure to have some balance. It’s more about the quality of hours and not quantity (Study 30-45 min increments at a time vs 1-4 hours without a break). Doing this can help retain information and prevent mental fatigue. Know your limits and when it’s not sinking in anymore and time to rest.
Utilize your coping skills, which are your tools to deal with stressful situations. Examples are taking a walk, listening to music, art and crafts, playing video games, exercising, spending time with friends, etc. These activities should be restorative and give you more energy. Try to be proactive and have them built into your routine or plan, so the stress doesn’t build up. Be sure these activities are intentional and stick to your plan, otherwise they can soon turn into procrastination behaviors!
Be Kind to Yourself
Treating yourself with compassion is so important, so that you feel more encouraged rather than discouraged. Motivate yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. The way you talk to yourself can either mobilize you or make yourself anxious and even paralyzed.
Remember the Basics
Your body needs fuel! Taking care of yourself is key. Be sure to eat healthy and get good sleep. Your memory, focus and emotional regulation depend on it! Watch your intake of caffeine, alcohol and other drugs… they can make you more anxious and down. Try to stick to your food and sleep routine and stay as balanced as you can. Although it may feel like the only way is doing an all-nighter, it is not ideal for the long haul and will catch up to you, so do your best to sleep and allow your body and mind to restore energy for the next day.
Set Limits and Boundaries
Most college students are juggling a lot… jobs, leadership positions, relationships, family responsibilities. Everyone can reach you constantly on your cell phone, which is always in your hand or by your side. It may be helpful to put it away, turn off the ringer and/or let folks know that you need to focus and can’t be as available as usual. It is okay to prioritize your studying and not be everything to everybody all the time! Let your boss know that your finals are important and see if you can make up the time after finals period. Same for friends and family.