College can be both an exciting and an intimidating time in a person’s life. No matter how well I think I plan for something, there are often times when I feel like everything in my academic life is one second away from crashing down around me. This was much worse early on in my college career, but now I feel like I have learned to reside in the chaos that is completing a demanding segment of my life.
Stress is a constant in every college student’s life. It results from things like procrastination, unexpected demands, and lack of preparation – to name a few. In my time at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, I have determined that while stress is inevitable, there are ways to minimize its impact on both me and my work.
Avoid Overloading Whenever Possible
Overloading can be detrimental. Taking more classes than I realistically had time for created nearly insurmountable burdens. It seemed like no matter how well I planned, I was constantly multitasking in order to reach constant deadlines. While multitasking, I was giving what seemed to be half-effort to multiple assignments. This increased my stress levels because I always had half-complete work in front of me.
Schedule Your Time Wisely
While this is a known requirement for success, I find scheduling to be one of the hardest things to master. With a constant set of demand – academic, professional, and personal – my most thought out schedules often fall by the wayside. Nothing increases stress levels like being double-and-triple-booked for months on end. The ability to schedule my work out still gives me a guideline to follow. Also, by using one Gmail account to link all my other email calendars, I can minimize the instances of being overbooked, and this information is extremely effective in a mobile-environment.
Develop A Plan
Now that are course-loads and schedules are determined, develop a plan for success. While the schedule will likely be included with this information, I find that a more detailed plan helps to keep me on track with objectives, research, and deliverables. The hardest part of any project is getting started. A collegiate career is an example of a major project. A plan gives me a direction to take to insure my own success. Poor planning had the result of increasing my stress-levels because I found that too many deadlines and assignments coming at me, with no real idea of how to accomplish them.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
There have been times when I have been in front of a computer for 16 to 18 hours a day completing assignments. While this is probably due to faltering on one of the prior steps, these long stretches of physical inactivity can be exhausting. Furthermore, there are times where eating went by the wayside as well. It’s no secret that healthy eating and exercise have wonderful effects on productivity and mental capacity. Furthermore, exercise helps to break away from the monotony that comes with working at a computer for most of my life. These tips also help increase energy-levels in the situation that an all-nighter is required.
I have found the one thing that is inevitable is the amount of hard work that is required for me to complete my degree. While there is no lack of dedication to achieve this milestone, there are periods when everything comes due at once. This is where the extended periods of constant attention come into play. During these times, taking breaks is a requirement. Being mentally burned-out causes negative effects to the quality of my work and my outlook on life in general. Taking breaks allows me to refocus my thought-patterns and enjoy the work that I have already accomplished.
While stress is always going to present itself, there are ways to handle it and make it productive. I have found that these five tips have gone a long way in helping me reach my ultimate objective. These tips will also be an integral part of my future career successes.