College can be super stressful. It starts out slow— the beginning of the semester is the honeymoon phase. The weeks leading up to your first exam are full of making new friends, scoping out cool spots to study (but not really doing much studying yet), and committing to everything that sounds interesting, mostly because of FOMO.
Exam one comes and is usually okay, then somewhere in between midterms and finals everything gets crazy. If you’re like me, you are taking classes, working, commuting, volunteering, socializing, and trying to find time to sleep and air up your tires. Suddenly you realize that you overcommitted and have three giant assignments due tomorrow (that you haven’t started yet).
So, here’s my best, learned-by-experience steps to surviving college stress (spoiler alert: it’s mostly about time management).
Step 1) Hold off on making too many commitments. Learn to say “no”—people would rather you give an honest answer than have to find someone to fill your position last minute when you finally tell them that you have too much on your plate.
Step 2) Be intentional about spending time with your close friends. For me, if I don’t have a time with you written in on my planner, I probably won’t see you. Being around caring, fun people will help you put your anxiety into perspective.
Step 3) When you need to work hard, work hard. Write down big due dates on a planner and think about how much time it will take you to complete that assignment or study for that test, and map out certain times to study and prepare.
These three steps will put you on the pathway to becoming more aware of what works for you in college. So take a deep breath and relax; it’s all gonna be okay.