September is a time when many of us are preparing to start or return to college. It is an exciting period but can be seen as a little stressful. Trying to leave the summertime behind and building a new routine will require some patience.
The first few weeks are crucial to develop a routine. It is easier to start as soon as possible rather than later. You will be surprised how fast the weeks will fly by. I often ask myself ‘where did the time go?’ If you often feel like you don’t have much time for anything, it might not even necessarily be the case. Time anxiety can play a role in focusing on your studies. This barrier can cause frustration but can be erased with time management.
I found over the years that being organised can cut this stress by half. Suddenly, there is time to complete my work. Being organised works for people in diverse ways. Personally, I need to see things being written down. A timetable for a new semester is always a suitable place to start.
You might have heard of Canva before, it is an easy, online graphic design tool. It works well for all kinds of editing and organising. Choose a template that will please your eyes and start scheduling lectures into your week.
Make sure to add some dedicated study time. Include things such as part-time jobs and activities. The slots that are left empty can act as helpful guide to know when you’re free from all commitments.
Apart from a timetable, it can be helpful to keep some sort of a diary. To-do lists take a minute to organise but can give you a clear visual of tasks that you would like to carry out that specific day. Don’t forget to be realistic, setting many goals is great but sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Overcommitting can be stressful in itself. Remember that you can only plan so much and keep in mind that unexpected things will happen.
Another way to stay organised for this academic year is to be ahead. By this I mean ahead of lectures and tutorials. OneNote helps me to organise my modules. You can easily create notebooks to keep on top of your studies all in one place. Create a notebook for semester one and add your subjects as sections. If you prefer to leave technology behind, invest in a few folders and copies.
Once you’ve all the essential planning done, getting in the habit of preparing readings prior to your lecture and or tutorial will give you a greater understanding into topics being discussed. You might not always have the reading done in time because you might have other things that are going on. This is where matter of prioritising work will come into play. Everyone has their own system. Some are able to spend very little time on preparing in advance and yet hold a clear, calm mind. Others will find that being more prepared is the only way they can keep on top of anxiety and or stress.
Ask yourself how much time do you need to grasp a concept. I can read the same page twice if my concentration levels are low. From knowing this, I choose to get my readings done early in the morning. I try to leave tasks that require less concentration towards the end of the day.