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8 Tips for a Busy College Student

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Dily journal and takeout coffee cup, with sunflowers, seen from above

This semester, I am taking six courses versus my usual five. I’m in a combination of upper-level journalism and communications classes. My Tuesdays and Thursdays are jam-packed with four classes in a row, going from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Each subject gives a good amount of homework, too. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when Monday rolls around every week, but these are my tips for keeping on top my work while staying relatively stress free. 


Tip 1. 

Choose classes that you like! Don’t be afraid to switch out of the ones that are making you miserable. Most classes are taken to fill a requirement, but make sure you are enjoying the material you are learning. If you are continuously unhappy with your courses it might be a sign that your major isn’t for you. My fall semester sophomore year, I switched out of three classes before add/drop because I was completely lost after the first week. This was a telltale sign that these were not the courses for me. 


Tip 2. 

I definitely suggest using a planner. I tend to be very forgetful, so when it comes to homework I need to immediately write it down. I write my assignment due dates with squares next to them. That way I can draw a check mark in them once they are completed. Plus, you can find a planner that fits your style. The UMass store sells some right here on campus! 


Tip 3. 

Use your favorite writing utensils. This tip may sound a little strange but using certain pens really makes my academic week better. I love writing in black ink because I think it looks sharp. Make sure you always have back up because you never know when your pen or pencil will run out. 


Tip 4.

Don’t procrastinate. This one is definitely easier said than done. I like to set alarms on my phone telling me when I should start assignments. I can’t avoid a loud beeping sound telling me to get up and start working. Also, I don’t recommend setting a song you like as your alarm because it will probably end up ruining the song for you. 


Tip 5. 

Talk to someone! Sometimes you just need a person to vent to about your busy week. My favorite person to talk to when I’m feeling stressed is my mom. She always has the best advice to give. When I told her about my writer’s block she told me to just start writing and not overthink.


Tip 6.

Find a good place to study. My personal favorite place is the Communications Hub on the second floor of the ILC. It has a great view of the campus pond and Peet’s Coffee right downstairs! What more could you ask for? 


Tip 7.

Remember to take breaks. Sometimes you need to take yourself away from your work to refresh your mind. I love going on long walks with my roommates or even cleaning up my room while listening to a podcast. Any activity that you enjoy is one worth doing! 


Tip 8. 

Believe in yourself. This is definitely the most important advice I can give you. Sometimes I get in my own head thinking I can’t accomplish my goals and achieve the grades I want. Whenever I pass in an assignment I remind myself to be proud of the effort and time I put into it.  

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