Brenda at College Candy writes:
According to the Daily Beast, Columbia University, my school, offers the most stressful undergraduate experience in the country.
Admittedly, taking a tour of any campus library during midterms or finals is enough to set your nerves on edge. Under-eye bags are as common on campus as Longchamp bags. Many students (especially first-years) constantly complain about their work overload. However, during my three years here, I have never pulled an all-nighter, missed a deadline, asked for an extension, or taken Adderall, caffeine pills or any type of energy drink (though, admittedly, I was studying abroad during the era of Fourloko).
Is this some sort of miracle? Am I a genius? Do I have photographic memory? No, I wish, and that actually doesn’t exist. But that’s another story. What I am is organized and realistic. And successful.
Here are some of my tips for keeping it all together.
My first tip applies to registration. Try to choose at least one class that will lift your spirits. Whether it is a new language class, an art class or a P.E. class, getting credit for something you enjoy will make your whole course load feel lighter. You might even think about taking this class Pass/Fail.
Secondly, buy a planner or agenda and do everything you can to make sure you use it. For me, this means colored pens, stickers and the compulsion to always have it in my bag and write everything down as soon as I find out about it. Knowing where you need to be can make your day feel less cluttered and give you peace of mind.
On the subject of clutter, keeping your living spaces organized and clean can free can be therapeutic. There are a lot of nice things in the world that are expensive, but the one nice thing that is absolutely free is cleanliness. On a day where nothing seems to be going your way, organizing your dorm room, desk drawers and clothes can be a step in the right direction. (Don’t know where to start? Check out organization expert Peter Walsh’s tips for organizing your space.)
Try to take really good notes. Focusing on making them look nice can keep you from zoning out in class. Resist the urge to check your email or Facebook on your phone. Doodling on a notebook is better than connecting to the outside world. This is why I don’t bring my laptop to class; the act of physically writing down key lecture points keeps me engaged. Skyping your long-distance boyfriend during that history lecture is a bad use of your time and will only make it harder to study down the road. Trust me – I’ve done it.