Almost any university student knows that the week or two before midterms begin can be incredibly stressful. Every professor decides to make a major project due in that week when you SHOULD be studying for your midterms. Some students have work or families as well which limits the amount of time they can spend slaving away over the perfect thesis for their paper. This pattern of piling on heaps of assignments right before midterms though flawed, probably isn’t going away anytime soon. These are some of the things that help me deal with the stress and the workload.
- List out exactly what you need to get done. This is important because often when we think of everything that needs to be done it can become overwhelming and it is hard to decide where to start. List out all the assignments that need to be done, what needs to be done to complete them (e.g. minimum work requirements, specified number or sources you must find and include, etc.), and when they are due. You may be surprised by how much easier it is to quickly decide where to start when all the information is laid out in front of you.
- Start with something small or something that interests you. Working on a long paper on a subject that you couldn’t care less about is not incredibly enticing to think about. Avoid extended periods of procrastination by “warming up” with an assignment that is short and easy to complete or one that is on a subject of interest to you. Once you feel like you have gotten something done, you will feel less overwhelmed and will have an easier time tackling longer and less interesting tasks.
- If you must, plan for procrastination. If you are anything like me, procrastination is an ever present enemy in your quest to obliterate that pile of homework sitting on the desk. If you can’t beat the urge to put off your homework then plan for it and make it work for you. set aside an hour in which you are allowed to procrastinate guilt-free. Try to do some work during it but if you end up scrolling through social media, watching a tv show ,or I don’t know … writing a blog post about all the homework students have this time of year, don’t worry about it just put a limit on it and when that time is over get back to work. Another method to plan for procrastination is to avoid doing one assignment by working on another assignment. This works best if there is ample time to complete the original assignment before its due date.
- Be smart with breaks. Breaks when studying are important but they are also opportunities to begin the procrastination process all over again. I suggest taking a ten minute break every hour, and using that time to stand up, stretch, take a walk, and maybe make a light snack with natural sugars (like an apple). Keep in mind simple snacks like apples can be eaten while you work if you prepare them during your break.
Hopefully these tips will make pre-midterm stress week a bit more bearable.