The Unspoken Rules to Surviving the Semester

My brother started his freshman year of college this August. Being his older sister, I have always felt the need to look out and protect my brother. I do not want him to feel completely overwhelmed with work in a new place with total strangers. I thought about what I wished somebody had told me before starting freshmen year. I realized I wish someone had told me how to plan and manage my work. After some thinking, I came up with three tips I wish I had figured out before starting my freshman year.
1.   Look Ahead: Prior planning is key to minimizing stress. Each week, figure out what you have going on. Go through your syllabus and record in a planner readings or assignments due that week. Indicate due dates in red. List your weekly meetings in the calendar and daily agenda sections of the planner. After that, determine what times you can complete work. Have an hour to kill in between class and PRSSA? Plan to bring your laptop to campus and get homework done. Being aware of your upcoming schedule will prevent surprises and missed deadlines.
2.     Develop an Action Plan for Papers- When assigned a paper, give yourself a cushion of time to complete it. Plan what to accomplish each day. For example, plan to create the thesis on Sunday; outline your paper on Monday; write the intro and first paragraph on Tuesday; write the second and third paragraphs on Wednesday and Thursday; write the conclusion Friday; and edit the paper on Saturday. Doing a little bit each day will create the sense that you are in control of the situation. Making gradual progress also leaves room in case an issue occurs.
3.     Stay On Top of Readings– Lets be honest, nobody likes to read textbooks. To keep the pain minimal, know when the readings are due. Need to read a thirty-page chapter in the next three days? Plan to read ten pages a day. Doing this will make it seem much more manageable than cramming. If you leave it all for one night, chances are you may not complete the reading at all.

Although I am sure my brother does not feel the need to listen to his older sister, I hope he finds these tips helpful as he navigates his way through his piles of work. What tips to you have to help manage your course work?
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Lauren Bentley.

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