How To Not Get Overwhelmed In College

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Starting college amid a pandemic can add a host of challenges to a student’s life… when college alone is already plenty challenging. If you already feel like your sinking before you’ve even hit the water, calm down. Panicking and stressing will only take you down faster.

The best way to stay on top of all of your schoolwork is to study smarter. Studying “smart” can be just as important as studying hard and it can work wonders on your stress levels. Check out these study tips to get you started on the right track this semester.




Different things work for different people – so find what study systems work for you. This can be anything from color-coded tabs to intense outlines to pneumonic devices. It doesn’t matter if it seems silly – if helps you, you can laugh your way towards better grades.




It can be tempting to procrastinate when the number of class assignments starts to snowball. But that’s obviously the exact opposite way to get ahead of them. It’s also a recipe for a stress-a-strophic stressaster (it’s a thing now.) If you do a little bit each day – just a little – instead of saving all of your work for one very long cram session – it will go a long way. Not only will you get your work done at an almost relaxing pace, but you could also finish your assignments with a little extra time to spend perfecting them for that A++.




Speaking of doing a little bit each day, get yourself a planner. A planner not only helps you manage your time, but it also gives you a clear picture of what needs to get done in the weeks ahead. You’ll also be less likely to forget about an assignment or exam. Buy one nice pen, or some colored pens, and write down EVERYTHING. School projects, papers, test dates, and appointments. From there you can break down large loads of schoolwork into smaller, more easily manageable baby steps – planned by the hour, day or week. Or the month! Or the year! Ok, I think you’ve got this.




Too often, we read or hear things without absorbing the content and instead think, “OK, I get it. Next!” Before you move onto new material or a different task, make sure you understand content and concepts. If you don’t, ask your professor or invest the 30 minutes to swing by during office hours. Chances are good that your teacher won’t be eager to answer your emailed questions at 2 am on the day of the test, so pay him or her a visit during the semester.




Your study space needs to be sacred territory. Whether it’s a silent cubical in the library or a table in your apartment or parents’ house, make sure that – much like your actual study habits – you have a workspace that works for you. When it’s study time, put away your phone and avoid social media. Do whatever it takes to focus, focus, focus.




This seems so obvious, but many of us – particularly in the first year of college – have operated under the belief that we don’t need to be in class every day. That’s true – but you do need to go to class if you actually want to pass. Even if it’s the lackluster, virtual way. Suck it up and show up.