The Wesleyan Argus | Ask The Argus: How to Survive the Semester

Welcome to Ask The Argus, a semi-regular advice column brought to you by the Features section! For our first edition of the year,‘re sharing our tips on how to start the semester on the right foot.

I’m a freshman and I have no idea how everyone has time for everything they do. I’m exhausted and drop/add just finished. How do I stay engaged but not completely overwhelmed?

Here at The Argus, we know better than anyone that the start of a semester can be particularly stressful. After a long break from academic and extracurricular commitments, diving back into constant classes, homework, and multiple meetings can quickly overwhelm any student, especially someone who may be involved in multiple clubs or working part-time on top of their course load. . It’s all too easy to fall behind on your work at the beginning of the semester and spend the rest trying to catch up, which can lead to undue stress, frustration, and eventual burnout as finals week approaches. That’s why at The Argus we’ve taken the time to discuss and compile some of the strategies we’ve found most helpful in managing our time and staying on top of our work while prioritizing our physical and mental health.

Have a plan.

It seems self-explanatory, but many of us have a tendency to jump into our work without planning or budgeting time in advance. We often have more homework than we remember at the moment, our homework may be longer than we anticipate, and we may not think about how much energy we will have to study at any given time. But the first step to beating burnout is scheduling your study time so it feels more manageable and fits into your already busy schedule — five majors, three minors and all.

Get rid of any distractions.

Let’s be honest. We’ve all seen a 30-minute task turn into a five-hour saga when our phone keeps ringing every five minutes. Yes, aimlessly browsing TikTok or updating our friends on last weekend’s debacles can be a lot more interesting than a physics textbook, but the pain of studying can be greatly eased (or at least shortened) if he gets rid of all the distractions around him. your. Put your phone down and put it away, clear your desk of more interesting reading, and settle into a space that won’t tempt you to do anything other than study. You can even keep your phone busy by recording aesthetically pleasing time-lapse videos of yourself at work. While romanticizing routine may not be the ideal path to follow, it can make more mundane tasks feel a little more exciting in the moment.

Break large assignments and projects into smaller tasks.

It can be overwhelming trying to tackle longer presentations or papers in one sitting, especially if the project will account for a significant portion of a class grade. About that “romanticizing routine” problem… staying up all night for a big assignment, surrounded by candy and energy drinks, is less exciting than it sounds. And it sounds horrible.

Even if you start early, it can often feel like you’re starting from scratch every time you review a big project. So before you dive right in, take some time to think through all the steps you need to take to finish the task, making each task as specific as possible. These may include research, organizing information, writing, revising, editing, and more. Breaking up your project like this can turn your monstrous midterm into a few easy assignments. There may not be a routine for romanticizing anymore, but you’ll find that it’s for the best.

Make the most of the tools at your disposal.

The University has given us access to dozens of virtual resources that you can incorporate into your organizational system. There are also many free open source tools that can be found with a quick Google search. From Microsoft Office 365 to free platforms like Notion, you can find a mix of platforms and tools to help you stay on top of your commitments and tasks. One of the simplest and most useful tools for managing your time, and one of our favorites on the features team, is Google Calendar. It provides a convenient way to keep track of all your classes, extracurricular activities, and work shifts in one place and allows you to color code activities and customize the platform to fit your needs. You can add reminders for when all your important tests, papers, and projects are due so you know which weeks you’ll be busiest, and adjust your other social and academic commitments accordingly.

Keep track of your energy to study.

In theory, we can have what seems like a lot of time and space to study during our weeks. However, we often do not take into account our energy level and our ability to retain information in our study plans. Even if we have a day off from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm, after three classes and two clubs, most people don’t have the energy to stay up and study for another three hours that day. When scheduling your time to study, be sure to keep in mind when you’ll have the energy to work. Budgeting time is important, but setting aside the wrong times to focus on schoolwork can lead to unnecessarily long study sessions, frustration, difficulty learning material, and quick exhaustion. We’re all human, and no matter how studious you are, you probably have a limited amount of energy to devote to academics every day. Keep track of this and stay safe and healthy with your self-directed workload.

Schedule time for self-care.

Remember that you are a person first and a student second. Most of the students are involved in many activities outside of their school work and each can feel that it is of the utmost importance. However, none of us is capable of giving our best to anything if we are not taking care of ourselves. Make sure your schedule leaves enough time to engage in activities that help you relax and reflect on the rest of your week.

To submit a question to Ask The Argus, click here.

Sulan Bailey can be contacted at [email protected]

Akhil Joondeph can be contacted at [email protected]

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