Managing School Work: Simple Tips to Stay on Track in College

college backpack

Daily, I watch friends frantically try to finish an assignment right before it’s due. For me, I attempt to get work done ahead of time to save myself from the hassle and stress. Managing school work can be tough, but I save time and don’t have to stress! In high school, I was disorganized and got by without studying. I’d work on projects the day before they were due and always make good grades. College was a big adjustment, but I do a lot to make sure I stay on top of my work!

managing school work

Use a planner to help with managing school work.

This is nonnegotiable. There are so many different ways to keep a planner, but no matter how you do it, you need to be writing down assignments. It’s so handy to see all your work laid out for you and to manage when you’re going to do what. Wondering about a planner? Check out mine here. Seeing your assignments laid out in front of you really puts you in the right mindset to do them. Plus, crossing them off is really satisfying!

Go to class.

You might think this is a no-brainer, but for some people, this is difficult! For classes that don’t require attendance or have no attendance policy at all, it can be almost impossible to pry ourselves out of bed. However, there is nothing that can replace going to class. You get to hear from the professor herself on what’s important. Besides, you’re literally paying money for every single one of those class sessions, so you might as well get the most out of it.

Utilize your time between classes.

This requires a bit of planning ahead and depends on how your schedule is set up. For me, on Tuesday and Thursday I had an hour and a half between two classes. Freshmen year, instead of going back to my dorm room, I tried to stop by the quiet floor of the library. If I received an assignment from my previous class, I would get started on it right then. If it’s a short assignment, I’d complete it and my day would feel way less stressful. Now, I live off-campus in my super cute apartment so it’s just way easier to stay on campus and get work done!

managing school work

If it takes less than five minutes, do it when you think of it.

Was that confusing? I mean, if you’re working on homework or not doing anything, and you think of a task, do it right then if it takes only a few minutes! Reply to an email as soon as you get it; Google whatever you need to Google; sweep your floor. Putting it off will make it take longer in the long run!

Review your notes within twenty-four hours.

This is a great way to get ahead and stay ahead. Reviewing your notes immediately after class helps you retain the information, and this will save you time when it comes to studying for the test. It takes a minimal amount of time to simply read through your notes right after class, and it can save you so much time in the future! Go a step further and even try my note-taking method.

Get help when you need it.

Even the best students don’t understand every concept. If you’re struggling with something even slightly, it’s better to get help sooner, rather than later. Courses generally build on top of each other, so if you’re not sure what’s going on this week, you’re going to be twice as lost next week! You have really awesome resources available to you on campus. You can…

  • talk to your professor
  • seek help from your IA
  • ask your peers
  • call your mom
  • look online
  • find an on-campus tutoring program

There’s no reason to struggle alone or not get help if you need it! managing school work

Designate times for studying/homework.

Most of the time, we forget to set aside time to study and we get swept up in doing other things that seem more important. If you set aside twenty minutes everyday to study for an upcoming exam, it can’t sneak up on you. Likewise, writing a paragraph a day seems way easier than writing a five page paper the night before! Use your planner to pencil it in.

Have a consistent schedule.

Likewise, if you’re keeping a consistent schedule, you always know when it’s time to study. If you’re going to class, using your time between classes, and then planning additional studying and homework hours, you’re bound to stick to your schedule and stay on track.

Get together in groups or with a friend.

You can feel like you’re missing out on being social if you have to go study. To avoid this, gather a group of friends, acquaintances, or classmates and get together to study! For some people, this can be counterproductive if you don’t stay focused. However, if you’re all dedicated, it can be a big help! You don’t even have to be studying the same thing; take turns quizzing each other or just study independently with breaks to destress. Plus, it helps to build a group of friends who have the same values and prioritize academics. And sometimes, cut loose and just have fun with your friends. They can definitely help relieve stress!
college backpack

Enjoy your school supplies.

There is something about a nice, crisp notebook that makes me want to take notes. If you have a nice set of pens or bright flashcards, you’ll be more likely to want to use those things. Invest a little more in nicer school supplies as a way to invest in yourself.

Check your email.

Literally just do it. My professors expect everyone to check their email every 24 hours. Your school might have a different policy, but email communication is extremely important in our newly grown-up lives. You can literally log into it on your phone. No excuses.

Find time to destress and sleep.

Working constantly isn’t fun or productive! When I’m stressed, my work quality is poor. Schedule breaks throughout studying, or spend time after doing homework or studying to really relax. If you’re not sleeping, there’s no way to avoid burnout and fatigue. Some people need more or less than others, but I can physically feel my work quality decline if I get less than eight hours! My favorite things to do to destress are

  • take a candlelit bath
  • exercise
  • clean the kitchen
  • go for a walk
  • listen to Hamilton the Mixtape

Obviously your way to destress will be different than mine, but it’s just important that you take that time to yourself and allow yourself to relax.

None of us really like doing school work, but we can certainly make it easier on ourselves by staying on top of it! What are your tricks to stay on top of your work? Comment below and feel free to share this post.