Peer blog: Due dates, structure, and rewards
Santosh, Life Sciences, Class of 2023
Hi everyone! I hope all of you have well and truly settled into the academic year. It has definitely been a different experience than what most of us are used to, so I hope you appreciate the hard work you have done thus far and use it as motivation through the rest of the semester. If you haven’t started out as strong as you would have liked, there is still plenty of time to achieve the goals you set for yourself!
One of the things that I felt overwhelmed by recently was the never-ending list of assignments, quizzes, midterms, and discussion board posts. I always had this feeling that I was forgetting to do something. To solve this issue I created a monthly calendar using the SASS Term Calendar template. It has been a lifesaver for me! When you use a template like this, you will have a proper overview of all your course due dates allowing you to plan your day and even week. A pro-tip is to put your non-academic tasks on this calendar too so you have a clear sense of what your day, week, and month will look like. Every evening update your schedule for the next day so you are mentally prepared to face the next day! Wouldn’t you want to wake up every day knowing exactly what you need to accomplish?
I also recommend setting dedicated times each week for all of your courses. To help you stay on track, set a dedicated day for each course. Regular structure will gradually become a habit, making it easier to remain up to date. In my science courses, each week builds on the last week’s work, so it is crucial to stay on top of lessons. Getting behind by only a week or two can lead you into a deep pit that is going to be hard to recover from (but if you need help, book an appointment with SASS’s Academic Skills specialists. They’ll get you back on track!). An added bonus of this approach is to make finishing assignments and test prep easier because you’ll already have a good grasp of the content: endlessly flipping through unnecessary textbook pages for hours upon hours will be a thing of the past. Even giving yourself some structure in your working habits will help, so why not try it this week?
You might remember I set myself the goal of working on my time management skills. I’m pleased with my progress, but even with my new structured working week, a good portion of study time is sometimes spent on my phone looking at YouTube videos or messaging my friends. Something that has helped me improve on this is to give myself rewards for sticking to my schedule and finishing tasks. For example, when I finish an assignment, I enjoy some downtime. I watch an episode of a show or play video games with my friends. It is just as crucial to have those breaks during the day as at the end of the day, because they help you relax and prevent exhausting striking when you hit the books again. This reward-driven method has helped me be more focused and have quality study periods with minimal distractions. Remember: quality over quantity!
Finally, this week, I want you to think about who you can ask for help if you need it. As we have midterms and project/essay deadlines coming up, do not hesitate to ask for help if you’re falling behind or have questions. There are so many opportunities to clear up our doubts, whether you use tutorial sessions, office hours, discussion boards, or study groups. If you need help with specific skills like writing a lab report or essay, follow the SASS Instagram page and Facebook page for reminders of new seminars about university tips and tricks! It is a different experience for all of us, so remember that you are not alone in your problems and people are more than happy to help if you just ask.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Good luck on your upcoming assignments and tests. See you soon!