It’s easy as a freshman to feel overwhelmed by the never-ending assignments that pile on your desk or the amount of due dates scribbled in your planner. As the years go on, it can feel similarly daunting to take classes outside of your major or even take a 3000-level class in your own field of study. Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to remedy the stress caused by difficult coursework.
The five-step plan to get the grade you want:
- Set goals. When you know that you’re about to start a rough semester, think about what you’d like to accomplish. Do you want to go for an A? Or maybe just gain more of an appreciation of the subject matter? Write down your goal and try to look back on it throughout the semester.
- Take advantage of office hours and tutoring hours. All professors have time slated in their week to talk to you about upcoming assignments or things that you don’t understand. Additionally, a lot of departments offer tutoring hours on a weekly basis. Making the extra effort to talk to your professor or attend a tutoring session shows that you’re dedicated to the class and can help sort out questions you might have.
- Use a planner. On top of all your school work, you’ll have to balance your work schedule and meetings, so make things easy on yourself and write down all of your commitments rather than trying to memorize them. I write down everything from lectures to reminders to get my hair cut.
- Start in advance. This should seem like a no-brainer, but it can be fairly hard to execute when you have a class, work, practice, and are attempting to maintain a social life. Try to block off manageable chunks of time to research for that big term paper that’s due at the end of the semester starting about a month in advance. That way, you’ll be organized and maybe even finished when your classmates are starting to freak out about how little time they have.
- Drill your vocabulary and facts. This can apply to Spanish vocabulary, math formulas, or dates for a history class. Make flash cards and when you have a few minutes to spare during a car ride or while waiting for a class to start, pull them out and flip through them. When it comes time for that big test, you’ll feel less of a need to cram and the answers will come to you more easily.
Tough semesters don’t seem quite so ominous if you take time to plan and make the effort to write down assignments and communicate with your professors. Even though we’re currently more than halfway through the semester, you can still employ these ideas to boost your grades for finals or start using them next semester!