Handling Busy Weeks
Picture it: you’re cruising along through school, with no really big assignments or tests due in your classes for weeks.
Then it happens: the week when everything is due at the same time suddenly places itself in your path like a bully demanding your lunch money (or, more accurately in this case, your sanity).
A lot of us have experienced this before, and everybody has gotten through it in their own particular way, with some begging for mercy at the end of it and others shrugging it all off as if it were no big deal.
This was a problem for me during my first semester at ASU in particular. The week right before Thanksgiving break I had three tests on top of advising.
Being in the Honors Program and also being a freshman meant I had to see three advisors so, in addition to finding time to study for three tests, I had to make sure I made appointments and got my schedule figured out for the next semester, all in one week. On top of all of that, I was tired from my first semester of college and just ready to go home for a few days to be a lazy blob and stuff my face with delicious Thanksgiving delicacies.
Needless to say, I was a little distraught that week, and sometimes I just wanted to lie in bed and give up.
Thankfully, I didn’t, and now that I’ve gotten through such that stressful week I can say that I am glad it happened because it taught me how to get through a busy time with aplomb. It also taught me that I could do it in the future, which means I now face those hectic weeks with a sigh and a grim stance of determination instead of a pathetic whimper of fear.
Here are some of the things I learned about how to handle such instances:
What is due or happening first? If you have a history test on Monday and a biology test on Thursday, don’t spend the weekend studying for biology. Spend at least most of your time on history, because you’ll have more time during the week to use for biology.
Working chronologically can help you take each day one at a time, focusing on whatever step is next instead of seeing everything as a jumbled mess that you must jump into all at once.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
It may be very tempting to go hang out with friends who somehow have an open week while you are struggling to keep from pulling your hair out, but ask yourself: is it worth it?
If you spend valuable study time having fun with friends, it may hurt you in the long run and even make you have to work harder in the future.
You should also look at which classes you are going to have to study a little harder for.
If it helps you, make a list or write everything down somewhere that you will see frequently. I know that when things start to pile up I worry I will forget something (as I am, unfortunately, prone to do), so I make a list of all the things I need to get done and cross them off as I complete them.
Don’t Overload Yourself
Be reasonable about how much time you can devote to studying and preparing for class before you start feeling a little loopy or fail to absorb the information you are looking over.
Everybody reaches a point where it is better to stop, at least for a little while, and come back to it with fresh eyes. If you can, take a break, grab a snack and talk to a friend or family member, or catch an episode on Netflix before you tackle the material again. Don’t abuse the break and turn that one TV episode into 10, but cut yourself some slack at the same time.
Take a Deep Breath and Go Forth and Conquer
In the end, stressing about things does absolutely nothing but make you unnecessarily nervous about them. Slow down and take a deep breath, and tackle it one step at a time. As you knock things off your to-do list, you will feel the burden slowly lifting off your shoulders and will look back at the end of it all with a tired but satisfied smile.