Habits for Student Success

Photo credit to Mike Rohde on Flickr.

Have you ever gotten to class and realized that you had forgotten to do an assignment? Do you tend to feel overwhelmed and disorganized from the constant workload and demand of your classes? Maybe you have even had a mental breakdown looking at the amount of homework due the next morning. You are definitely not alone.

College can be a stressful time trying to manage the inevitable challenges of being a student, but there are many benefits to establishing effective study habits and work/life balance to ensure optimal success. 

Annalise Peterson, a fourth-year organizational communication major, recommended exercise as a way to combat the long hours of sitting in classes and studying. “My favorite thing to do when I’m burned out is to go for a walk on the track. Getting your body moving really helps to clear your mind,” Peterson said.

 It may seem counterintuitive, but taking a short period of time to exercise could actually increase focus and cut down the amount of time needed to study for those upcoming exams. It may be doing more harm than good to stay cooped up at your desk all day. According to psychology professor Jessie Tibbs, “Taking consistent breaks to work out in some form throughout the day can increase the flow of oxygen to the brain which will improve concentration.” Whether you enjoy lifting weights, running, yoga, or some other form of exercise, choosing an activity that you enjoy and will stick to is key. Longevity is far more effective than intensity to benefit attentiveness throughout the semester. Who wouldn’t want to graduate with a larger brain and an increase in information retention?

Along with prioritizing some breaks to exercise throughout the day, it can also be effective to become organized. Third-year political science major, Jessica Hernandez said, “Having a planner and writing everything down has helped me organize my homework and what to do on certain days.” 

As the semester progresses and more work is assigned, it can become crucial to write down tasks and important deadlines. Writing assignments down in an organized way often brings peace of mind and helps students avoid procrastinating or forgetting to complete homework. There is often all kinds of new information being given to students throughout the week and it is extremely difficult to remember everything without organizing it on a planner for future reference.

Sometimes, even when practicing effective study habits, trying to find the time for sleep, social activities and assignments can become overwhelming. This can result in a negative impact on mental health. Especially for a student who is new to the demands of a college schedule, it is crucial to establish a balance between work and play. Third-year childhood and adolescent development major Dorie Bulthuis will be graduating in the spring. She advises first-year students that are experiencing burnout to establish adequate breaks in their routine. 

“Step away from school and do something you enjoy that re-centers your mind. You shouldn’t suffer mentally for an assignment,” Bulthuis said. 

While getting a degree is important, it is equally important to enjoy your time away from assignments. Picking up a new hobby or going back to an old one, hanging out with friends, or going for a drive around the ocean are just a few ways to take a step back from stressful work and live presently in the college experience. 

As you go about the rest of your semester, keep in mind the benefits of taking breaks to move your body, practicing organizational habits to avoid missing due dates or feeling stressed and simply enjoying activities that help you rest. 

Written By: Megan Lonsdale