Thursday, March 27, 2014

Joe's Tip of the Week: Four Ways to Tackle Your Workload

It's that time of year: the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the weather is getting warm! Spring is in the air! Back in high school, this once meant teachers letting you out early, and maybe even lightening up on the homework so you could enjoy the weather... but college is a different animal.

Here in the big leagues, this is when things get serious. After spring break, the second round of midterms begins, due dates of big projects are suddenly much closer, and the homework picks up right where it left off. You may be feeling as salty this young lady...

...but that's OK! As a junior-year Physics major with a Math minor and two jobs, I know what it's like to be up to your eyeballs in schoolwork.
"But Joe," they ask, "how do you manage such an intense workload?"

Here are my Four Strategies for Finishing Strong:

1) Get real. Before you can dig in, you have to realize one thing:
Maybe it's not easy,
but it's not impossible.
It's a tough mental balance– if you're too laid back, you may procrastinate, but if you let yourself feel overwhelmed, you may give up before you even get started.

2) Start easy. Nothing is more discouraging that getting stuck on the first one of your assignments. To keep up my motivation, I try to always start off with an easier assignment. Once I've knocked one out, I honestly feel like a champ! With attitude like that, homework becomes a challenge instead of an obstacle.

3) Don't lose momentum. After you tackle that first easy assignment, don't reward yourself by watching a TV movie or taking a nap– you'll kill all your motivation. Try to keep working after each success, or at most take short breaks (less than 30 minutes).

4) Get help! Don't be afraid to accept a helping hand– there are lots more offered than you think! You can sign up for free tutoring at the W.E.B Dubois Library for many classes, from Gen-Eds to your major's requirements. That's not to mention your professors' office hours, which is basically free help with your homework plus brownie points with your instructor. If your instructor likes you, they might even give you an extension if you ask for one (before the due date)!

Hopefully these tips will keep you on top of your workload as spring approaches. If you read all the way to here, in AHNULD's voice: congratulations! If not...

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