Dear Miss Molly,
Midterm reports just came out last week, and to say I’m freaking out is an understatement. I feel like I have so much work and I am so sleep-deprived. At this rate, I might not be at Fairfield next semester. Please, help me!
In Rough Water
Dear In Rough Water,
Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right person. Because I’m captain of the cross country team and a member of the school newspaper, maintaining school and an active social life, I feel like I have mental breakdowns almost daily. I often overextend myself and put school on the back burner. I find myself cramming for tests or writing papers at 5:30 a.m. before practice, which surprisingly works well for me, but I’m not recommending you do this.
Tea is the key to all stress. Make yourself a warm cup of tea, take some deep relaxing breaths, sit down and get yourself organized. Pull out the syllabi of the classes you’re struggling in the most, and make yourself a schedule to keep yourself up to date on your work. For example, if you have a paper due in a week, set aside time each day to write some and by the night before the paper is due, all you will have to do is edit. The same goes for studying, if you studying a little everyday, you won’t find yourself as overwhelmed when test day comes.
Parents are also very helpful. The amount of times I call my mom in tears on a regular basis over stress is actually ridiculous. Your mom knows you better than anyone, and she will more than likely be able to calm you down and help you get focused on the work you need to get done.
Keep yourself busy. As weird as it sounds, sometimes when you have too much time on your hands is when you’ll find yourself wasting the most time. Get involved in clubs, schedule time to go to the gym or, better yet, join a club sport. Keeping active is also a great way to burn off steam and make you less fidgety when it comes time to sit down and focus.
Something really insightful I read recently in an article in The New York Times compared doing homework to doing crunches. Think about it: If you had 30 minutes to do as many crunches as possible, would you just do crunches straight for 30 minutes, or do them in five-minute increments with a break in between? The second one would prove much more productive. School works the same way. If you break up your work, you will get more accomplished. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should write a sentence and then go creep on your ex’s Facebook back to 2006. That will just leave you more stressed out, unproductive and probably emotionally unstable.
It also might sound surprising, but professors are incredibly understanding. Don’t be afraid to stop by their office hours and discuss your struggles. You should never be embarrassed or scared; remember that they were also in college once and understand what you’re going through. They will appreciate your honesty and it will definitely boost your final grade. I like to become close with my professors, and going to a small school makes this incredibly easy. I’m convinced I got a better grade in one class because I brought Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee to the final. It may be annoying, but sometimes sucking up works to your advantage.
You may be in rough water right now, but you’re not alone. College is hard, but if you manage your time better and don’t let the stress take over, you will get through and be passing in time for semesters end. And don’t forget, there is always time for some socializing in even the most intense study schedule, make sure you still let yourself have a little fun every week.