It's smack dab in the middle of Spring, so understandably we college students are bound to be distracted ... with break, looking forward to summer, and shopping for a fantastic new new Spring wardrobe, priorities get muddled. Things get put off. And before you know it, your brain is screaming "5 alarm fire!"
Procrastination is pretty much a rite of passage in college - nearly everybody has experienced those uncomfortable heart palpitations that come with pulling an all-nighter. But if you've been putting off hitting the books for months (and didn't do so hot on your first few tests), now's the time to get your academic life back on track. It's not too late!
Sometimes the hardest part of accomplishing something is finding the motivation to get off your bum and just do it. It's like going to the gym. We toss out excuses left and right and say we'll do it tomorrow, but tomorrow becomes the next day, and the next day ... and before you know it, that hitting-the-track-weekly goal has become vapor.
The same applies to school - just squeezing by is not fulfilling, personally or academically. You're cheating yourself out of reaching your full potential, and you owe it to yourself to finish the semester strong. Simply tell yourself you'll get through it, and then act upon it!
If your once perfectly coiffed binder looks like Ghostface got to it by mid-semester, now's the time to clean up (especially before finals). Set aside a few hours to collect all of your loose papers, rewrite or type up messy notes, or use Evernote to keep track of everything. D0ing so will help refresh your mind and give you easier access to what you need, when you need it.
Bonus tip: Because copying notes and hole punching handouts requires minimal brain effort, put on some songs, pop in a movie, or turn on the tube and multitask.
Take it Day by Day
Now that the tangibles are out of the way, tackle your time management turnaround. Make a list of all your responsibilities, from test dates to deadlines, to everything in between. Then, separate and highlight what's a priority and what's not. By physically seeing your assignments, you'll be able to get into a proactive, inspired mindset of getting things done. (And when you do, make sure to reward yourself afterward!)
Material in college builds upon itself, so it's easy to become overwhelmed if you fall behind. But after taking a few moments to clear your head, do what you can with the time you are given. Although you may have to cancel your girl's dinner date to catch up on Biochem, don't feel guilty or punish yourself for not starting sooner. What's important is the present, and the fact that you're doing your best to make your situation better.
Sometimes two (or more) heads are better than one; study groups are a great way to keep tabs on your progress while helping others in the process. (As a bonus, you may meet a friend or two along the way!) Here are some tips on how to start one and keep the momentum going once everything is set up:
- Don't be shy! Ask a few friends/classmates who sit around you or send out a mass email if you have access to a listserve. Chances are, there will be at least be a few people who will be more than happy to jump on board!
- Split up work. If everyone on your team is willing, assign out chapters for certain individuals to cover and take turns "teaching" each other the material so you can all gain a thorough understanding of it.
- Meet consistently. Cram sessions before a test can help some, but meeting more often will likely bring the most out of the group. You don't have to sit down together every day, but touching base once a week or once every two weeks will encourage you to keep up with your studies.
If you're particularly struggling with a subject, talk to your professor about where you stand in the class, and explain your situation fully so he or she can offer you advice. Opening lines of communication will not only help your academic situation, but it will also help show your professor that you're serious about doing well.
Don't feel intimidated or ashamed when asking for help - professors are people, too! And chances are, they have been in your shoes in the past. If anything, reaching out will help clear your conscience a bit (if you've been sleeping through class, faltering with grades, etc.) and can even give you that extra push to really give it your all from this point on.
So regardless of your class status this spring semester, pick up the pieces and move forward. As Rosie the Riveter would say, You Can Do It!
How has your semester been going so far? Do you have any advice on how to study better or get it together before the semester ends? Let us know in a comment!