What would you pay to eliminate college stress caused by your classes?
Before we get to how to do that, let’s look at a familiar scenario.
It’s late Monday night and you’re dreading the school week because it looks like every class is out to get you. By Friday, so only three nights and four short days away, you have to pull off a mission impossible: study for three exams, write one paper, and complete a group project.
Your luck couldn’t have turned out any worse as a major assignment is due in every class this week.
How can you fit it all in to get excellent grades (or passing grades, for some of you) without stressing?
Well at that point, you’re probably out of luck. It’s too late to have enough time to do it all extremely well. And if you care about your grades, you’ll be stressed to the limit while reaching mediocre results.
You’ll have to prioritize what is most important—based on major or nonmajor classes, or the weight of each assignment to your total grade—and try to salvage a decent grade on the other work. So late Monday is too late to accomplish all of this.
However, there is a time-management tactic that could solve this nightmare week if you started earlier.
The solution for this predicament and how to eliminate college stress is to go hard one day every week. This is what I mean.
What I Mean By “Go Hard”
Going hard means blocking out four to six hours one day a week where you focus 100% of your attention on current or upcoming school assignments.
Besides eating and drinking, going to the bathroom, and taking breaks, the rest of the time in this session is dedicated solely to your assignments.
That means no social media, no calling your friends, no checking your grades, and no other activities that seem like work but aren’t truly work. It’s all business during this four- to six- hour period.
During this time, if you’re falling behind in your classes, you get caught up. If you’re on pace, you get ahead on your projects, papers, or exam studying.
An example of going hard would be: You wake up 10am every Friday morning of the semester, grab a breakfast sandwich on the way to the library, and work on your big assignments for the next week (with mini breaks in between each hour of work). By the time this is over, you finish the research for your history paper that’s due on Friday, get two hours of solid studying done for your political science exam, type a rough draft paper for another political science class, and complete your biology reading due next week.
After the long work session is over, you’ll be tired but you will feel like a million bucks. Because you just made the rest of your week a whole lot easier and more manageable.
Got the concept of going hard? The two main ideas to focus on are that you: 1) find a large chunk of time that works every week and 2) consistently execute during that time each week of the semester.
Why It Works
If you haven’t figured it out already, the reason this plan works is it eliminates falling behind in your classes. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the most stressful aspect of college if you go hard one day a week.
Instead of being in a mental state of chaos trying to catch up with your classes, you’re now in a mental state of peace and ahead of your classes. As you can imagine, this is a completely different and more enjoyable way to go through college. This tactic can even prevent you from falling into a cycle of depression, which sometimes results when students don’t know how to handle their schedule.
Remember, you only need to work really hard for one day, then you get the fruits of your labor the next six days. Isn’t that a great deal?
And if you have a difficult week where you have major assignments in every course, you’ll be prepared for it and can weather the storm. Students who don’t do this tend to procrastinate and face an avalanche when difficult weeks come around.
I love this solution because it’s effective in every scenario your classes can throw at you. It’s a preemptive strike instead of a defensive counter.
Doing well in your classes isn’t the only reason to go hard once a week. A second benefit is you gain necessary space in your schedule to have more fun. You can get more involved on campus. You gain flexibility in your schedule to visit a friend on the weekend. Or you can start working out, like you promised yourself.
With your classes in order, your schedule opens up to try new, interesting things. If your classes are running you to the ground, you’ll have no capacity to do anything but focus on your homework.
Picking The Right Day
Each day of the week offers different advantages based on where it fits in the week and your schedule. Your job is to find the best day to go hard, and then stick with the same day throughout the semester.
Below are my personal thoughts about each day.
Monday – What I like about going hard on Mondays is you start the week off with a bang. And if weekends are normally a time where you’re able to gain rest, you will be able to perform at your best on Monday.
Also, if you’re fortunate, you can possibly knock off two to three days of homework in this going hard session. Then you can take it easy and only spend a few hours on Wednesday or Thursday to finish off the week right.
Tuesday/Wednesday – Tuesday and Wednesday are grouped together because picking one of these days depends on your class schedule.
If you have a heavy Monday and Wednesday class load, then going hard on Tuesday makes sense. If you have a heavy Tuesday and Thursday class load, then Wednesday makes sense.
The unique part of going hard on Tuesday or Wednesday means you never have more than three days of consecutive school days to work toward (where if you go hard on Sunday, you have five days of classes to work toward).
Thursday – Thursdays offer the advantage of being close enough to the weekend, while not being the weekend. This means that if you have travel plans on Friday (a common travel day), you’re not going to miss your going hard day. If you choose Thursdays, you won’t have to worry as much about getting disrupted with weekend travel or other plans.
And at many colleges, Thursday night is the new Friday night and start of the weekend. What better way to have a carefree Thursday night than by going hard during the day.
Friday – If you don’t have class on Friday, which is a growing trend, this is probably the best days to get ahead. Because by Friday, you’ll know all the big assignments due next week. And you will be free of any pressure when you have three days to prepare before Monday comes calling.
When you work hard during the day, it also makes the Friday night celebration with your friends feel that much sweeter. Reaching the perfect balance of productivity and fun is the ultimate goal.
Saturday – For the obvious reason that you don’t have class, Saturday is another attractive option to do this. You can sleep in and then get to work through the afternoon without missing a night party.
If you really want to get the most out of this Saturday, wake up early (maybe get up at 6am if you’re crazy) to get to work. Once you’re finished hustling, it will be around noon and you will have your whole Saturday to do whatever you enjoy.
Sunday – My only caution towards Sunday is that sometimes you have so much due Monday that you can only get even on Sunday, and not get ahead of your schedule. If that’s the case for you, I’d recommend you pick a different day.
You’ll ultimately need to decide what day you should designate to go hard based on your individual schedule.
Just remember that once you do pick a day and you execute, you’ll have it made the rest of the week. College stress can’t get to you when you’re always a few steps ahead of it.
What do you think of this strategy? Please comment below.