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It’s Here! The Fundamental Tips for College Survival

College sounds so glorious at the start – getting away from parents and rules, living on your own or with friends, getting to party all night or just being able to do whatever you want WHENEVER you want.  It’s gona be AMAZING!!

And then you get your syllabi!  The work starts to pile up.  You’re exhausted and strangely malnourished even though you think you’re eating alright.  You’ve watched the sun come up one too many times this week and your body is starting to give out.

So how do you manage to juggle the whole ‘being an adult in college thing’? 

Tools you will need:

West Chester Therapy Highlighters for Students
West Chester Therapy Calendar
  • Paper Calendar
  • Highlighters in various colors
  • Syllabi

Here are some tips that can help:

Paper calendars are your friends! 

I know you love your smart-phones and nifty electronic apps that can do all sorts of fancy things, but the problem is they can be too neatly tucked away and forgotten about.  Like vegetables in the vegetable drawer, if you don’t see your schedule, you will forget it’s there and it will get moldy!  So a nice big calendar that has whole months you can look at, all at once - that's what you need. 

Once you've got your calendar, then take your syllabi and start plugging in the TURN IN assignments ONLY! 

This means papers, tests, essays, projects – things you need to actually hand in - to the teacher.  Write each assignment in the date that it is due.  Select your pink highlighter (or any color, really, this is just an example).  HIGHLIGHT each TURN IN task in pink. 

Next, look at the weekend BEFORE the project or paper is due and write in the assignment in that weekend. 

THAT is your target due date.  So for example, if the paper is due on Tuesday the 15th, your target due date is Friday, the 11th.  Here’s the rule I implemented for myself that worked very well through grad school: IF I finish my assignment by Friday the weekend BEFORE it’s due, THEN I can play and relax the rest of the weekend.  If not, I target Saturday to finish it, then I can play Sunday, etc.  I made my target due dates the weekend before so it gave me time during the week to edit or catch up on any other assignments, readings, etc and not feel like I was rushing to get the assignment done. 

So highlight the TARGET DUE DATE for each assignment in another color.

Now that you have things that you actually need to turn in scheduled, you can write in reading assignments and other “passive” tasks and highlight THEM in yet a 3RD color. 

Once you've plugged in these due dates, target dates and reading assignments, you’ve got your priorities scheduled and color coded.

WCU West Chester University College Student

Make school your “job”

One of my favorite high school teachers told us as seniors that if we just made college our “9-5 job”, we’d be successful.  What she meant was this: when you are in high school, you have a structure GIVEN to you.  You must be awake by a certain time and go through each class at a certain time and be home by a certain time (typically).  So when college freshmen enter school, it can sometimes look like a free-for-all and people who are pre-disposed to anxiety or depression can find themselves struggling to keep up because of a lack of structure.  So you can look at it this way:

College work is a full-time job:

Work on your assignments and reading and classes from 9-5 every week-day, even when you’re not in class.  Get your stuff done before it’s due, that way your evenings and weekends can be fun times for parties, relaxing with Netflix or hanging with friends.

If work is left uncontained, people with anxiety tend to feel like they can never relax. 

You’ll find, as you move into adulthood, that ‘work’ is never done.  So, if you don’t contain your work into ‘work-time’ and contain your free time into ‘play time’, then you’ll never truly be able to relax and never truly be focused on work.  

What does ‘play-time’ look like?

For some extroverts, play-time comes naturally and easily.  They enjoy socializing in the hall of the dorm, on campus, at frat parties, etc.  For others’, it may provoke anxiety and insecurity.  If you’re introverted or shy or haven’t been exposed to many social situations that you feel comfortable in college can be a difficult experience.  Here are some tips on finding ‘your people’ and your version of play time.

For more information, contact me now at 610.314.8402