Hook'd On A's: Scheduling

Written by LAKSHYA NAGAR

As this is my first article in the Catalyst I find it necessary to introduce myself! I’m a second year prospective Neuroscience major, and I’m planning on going to medical school to specialize in radiation oncology. I’m excited to be writing for the Catalyst and am starting a column called “Hook’d On A’s”. The goal of this column is to first assure all you Natural Science majors and fellow pre-meds that you are not alone; these majors can be hard and they usually demand a rigorous schedule. Since we chose not to take the path of less resistance, we owe it to ourselves to find ways to succeed in our academics without overwhelming ourselves with stress. This is where I come in. I intend to be a medium to get valuable advice to you all from not only the brightest students in our college, but also the students that really have studying, scheduling, and enjoying college down.  Now in these upcoming weeks many of you will be flooded with tests (my sympathy goes out to you), therefore I want to start on something simple, but overlooked by many college students that is essential to doing well in school, scheduling.

Tests, papers, quizzes, meetings, and social activities by themselves don’t seem too daunting. However if they’re all crammed into one week it’ll be the Mt. Everest of all weeks. Unfortunately theses insanely busy weeks aren’t too uncommon around UT (especially within our College, yikes!). Nevertheless, what we can change is how we approach these weeks. Karl Migacz, a sophomore Biology major, said it best: “keeping efficient time management” is key to doing well in school.

Schedule your week every Sunday:

A common piece of advice obtained from the surveyed NS students was to schedule accordingly and as early as possible. Samantha Allen, a sophomore Computer Science major, believes that “staying organized” is essential to thrive in her academics. Allen believes that “doing any reading or homework as it comes up” is important to maintaining her high GPA.  To keep track of these assignments and any reading we may need to do, we must first plan them out effectively.  It’s easy to forget something important until the last minute, and this is why scheduling your week in advance can help you plan both your time and stress. Scheduling on Sundays is a routine that I myself use and it works wonders in managing my stress. It takes as little as 20 minutes of your Sunday to revisit possible tests you may have, homework problems that may need to be done, reading that has to completed, and also meetings, lunch dates, and social activities you may have. Now list these activities and mark a star by the ones that by all means require the most attention (e.g. tests, papers, deadlines). Your week may look packed, but that’s okay. It helps to simply understand how busy you’ll be rather than figuring out the night before. It is also okay to not know everything that you may be doing. Things may and will pop up, but just add them to the list.

Schedule Tomorrow Tonight

Now after the week is planned, important activities such as studying for tests and homework problems may have been some of the starred items; we now have to assign these tasks to specific days. Jack, a junior who prefers to be anonymous, states that, “It is a terrible idea to study last minute for tests! Don’t do it.” By no means should you ever have to, nor should you want to, study for a test last minute. Out of the 31 students surveyed, 22 have never pulled an all-nighter and 17 of those 22 have a GPA over 3.5. These students clearly know how to study effectively while still being able to get a good night’s rest. Furthermore, when it comes to exams or a big project, students, such as Dev Gandhi, make sure they are “not falling behind.” They instead break down studying and working on papers into smaller more manageable tasks. Whenever you are studying for a class first understand which big concepts are still confounding you, then dedicate an entire study session to understand about 1-3 of them.  Now that we  have an idea of how  to approach the exams and papers, simply take 3-4 things from the week’s list and add them to the to do list for tomorrow. Planning the day, the night before, is extremely helpful in getting work done without feeling too overwhelmed. Planning ahead also allows you to study for tests without relying on those dreadful all-nighters! Finally and a very critical piece of advice to manage stress is to not over pack. There is a difference between actually being busy and making yourself busy. When you’re done with your daily list, don’t add anymore things for that day. You planned your day well, and your reward is being able to put the books down without any guilt.

I hope that many of you found this first article of Hook’d on A’s helpful, and can take some of these tips and add them into your own scheduling routine! Look forward to the next Hook’d on A’s issue, and good luck on all your exams!

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