Assignment anxiety

Dear Sophia,

I am so stressed about finals. I have 15 assignments due in the next two weeks! I’ve been staying up all hours of the night trying to get everything done, but it’s exhausting and seems to be never-ending. I already try to plan out my studying, but I always forget about something or get distracted and then my schedule gets thrown out the window. What can I do to manage my work and stress levels?

Hi! I’m sorry that you have so many assignments due! The end of the semester is rough for everyone, so if you feel stressed, know that everyone else is probably feeling overwhelmed as well. With making a study plan, sometimes making a long-term schedule and mapping out a detailed study plan can make you even more stressed, so maybe you should consider setting smaller and more manageable goals for yourself. Tackle your assignments one day at a time and try to make daily goals that are achievable. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something when you complete these smaller goals. Also, try setting reminders on your phone. When I feel like I have a million things going on and know I’m going to forget something, I’ll set a reminder on my phone. Make sure you prioritize your assignments based on when they’re due and how much work needs to be put into each one.

You also might want to try finding a new spot to study. Usually, I’m the most productive when I’m not in my room. One time I packed my bag and left my room because I knew I had a ton of work to get done and was not going to get anything done in my room. I went for a walk and ended up wandering to Science IV; I got more work done in the two hours that I was there than I would have all day if I had stayed in my room. Also, minimize distractions so you can be as productive as possible. For me, I usually get bored while I study and end up on my phone, so I’ll turn off my phone and put it somewhere out of reach.

To manage your stress levels, make sure you take study breaks. If you lock yourself in your room all day, you might have a harder time focusing, so try to do something fun with your friends and get out for a few hours. Get some fresh air and go for a walk (even though it’s freezing out) or watch a movie and then get back to the books. Hang in there; before you know it, these crazy two weeks will be over and you’ll be home. Best of luck, you got this!

Parental pressure

Dear Sophia,

When I was home for Thanksgiving break, I remembered how exhausting it can be to be home. Everyone is constantly asking me about school and pressing me about whether I’ve decided on a major yet. They want me to tell them all of my crazy college stories, and my few family-safe go-to’s are running out fast. On the other hand, I don’t want my parents to think that my lack of academic achievement and excitement means that it’s been a waste of time and money. How should I deal with my family?

Hi! It can be really hard to deal with family after you’ve been away at school. As an undeclared major, I can definitely relate to feeling pressured for not knowing what I want to do with my life because people seem to assume that I’m wasting my time at college. Even though it’s annoying, sometimes the best thing to do is to tell people what they want to hear. If your family keeps asking you what you’re majoring in and you don’t feel like getting a lecture about why you haven’t decided, just tell them about what you’re considering majoring in. I find that if I simply tell people “I don’t know,” I get funny looks and they clearly don’t seem satisfied with my answer, whereas if I tell them “I’m not sure, but am thinking of…” and then elaborate, it gives people the impression that I’m not just aimlessly wandering around at college doing nothing. Regardless, there will always be people in your life who will never be satisfied with your answers and will push their opinions onto you. I know it can be annoying, but they’re probably doing that because they care about you and want you to succeed.

If your family thinks that college has been a waste, try telling them about your classes and what you’re involved with on campus. Talk about what you’re learning and any clubs you’re in or teams that you’re on. It sounds like they’re hoping to hear crazy stories about partying, but you, of course, want to keep the stories family-safe. Instead of going into detail about the wild nights you’ve had, maybe talk about the friends that you’ve made. Steer the conversation away from wild college stories and focus on the people in your life at school.

Don’t get too stressed about what your family thinks about you. I know how overwhelming it can be when everyone wants to know your business, but sometimes that’s just how it goes. Try not to get too discouraged if you feel like your family is not satisfied with what you tell them, and just remember to stay true to yourself. Hope everything works out!