How to cope academically when you’re not coping?
Have you ever felt feelings of dread whilst you stare at your work to-do list? Maybe it’s a list of seminar preparation for next week, key readings building up from two weeks previous, or an assignment plans due for the end of the month.
Well, I am here to tell you, that feeling is normal! Everyone at some point in their degree will experience overwhelming feelings, where you feel as if you are swamped with work. No literally, you’re sitting in a swamp and your work is the alligators, biting you, causing you pain. Ask your peers, your family, even your lecturers, everyone would have experienced this feeling before. The key thing to remember, is that it’s the way that you deal with these overpowering feelings that matter.
Firstly, what I find useful is creating priority lists, including absolutely everything you need to do, with the closest due dates and the most important tasks to be at the top of the list. (TOP TIP – make it colourful and even doodle on it so that it doesn’t bore you to look at it) Once you have made this, create a timetable of your upcoming weeks, which can be produced on Excel or on paper, and on this time table include all of your future plans, academic and non-academic. (If you are only able to complete one week for now that’s okay!) Now on this timetable, on the days where you are less busy and can take some time to complete a task, slot in a task from your priority list. The most important thing to remember is whilst this is meant to make your to-do list more manageable, if you are having a day where this still doesn’t feel achievable, it’s okay to take a day off for self-care.
Alternatively, if the above approach is to regiment for you and feels as if there is still too much pressure, another technique is the rewarding method. This involves starting with your smaller tasks and heading onto the larger ones, but after each individual task rewarding yourself with a treat! (I use chocolate buttons at the moment – they are always my favourite :)) You can even create a list so that when you tick the tasks off you are able to feel as though you have accomplished your goals.
I hope this advice helps you feel like you are not alone and gives you some ideas on how to cope academically!
Until next time, Kaitlyn x