When I was a freshman in college, my dad drilled one thing into my head and one thing only before I left home…
“You are in college to get your degree and leave. The only thing you need to focus on is studying and that is it.”
I honestly wasn’t surprised that he said this to me. And I’d be lying to you if I said that I didn’t agree with him. As someone who has ADHD, dyslexia, and dyscalculia, I always felt that I had to work 10 times harder than the next person.
I never wanted people to think that I was trying to take the easy way out. I say this because people like me who learn and think differently often get judged negatively because of the accommodations and help that we get.
I became what I call a “school-a-holic.” So, what exactly is a school-a-holic? It’s someone who is only focused on any and all things related to schoolwork. This means that homework, class, group projects, and study time in the library are above everything else (even yourself).
Now that I’ve gotten through undergrad and am working on my master’s degree, I see how becoming so obsessed with school was not necessarily good. It’s a given that you go to college to get a degree. So of course, that should always be at the forefront of what you do while you’re there. But when all you do is focus on school and you don’t allow yourself to relax and release stress, you can slowly start to burn out.
However, you don't have to be a school-a-holic. Here are four tips for doing well in school without burning out:
1. Use your time wisely.
It may be obvious, but poor time management can create burnout because you feel like every single thing is important. Using your time wisely will help you make sure that you aren’t spending too much time on one assignment and not enough on another.
2. Make your planner your best friend.
Having a planner really helped me because I was able to come up with a game plan for the week ahead. Once you do this, you may be shocked that you actually have more time than you thought — enough time to do something fun and relax.
3. Visit home if you can.
I was only 30 to 45 minutes away from home. It was nothing for me to get in the car and drive. I know some people go to college far from home. But if you can go home sometimes, do it. Nothing beats spending time with your family when you need it the most.
4. Allow yourself to take breaks.
There’s nothing wrong with being strict with yourself and having discipline. But you can’t be so strict that you don’t allow yourself a break. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and drained, stop what you’re doing and take a breather. Whether you go on a walk or grab some lunch, it’s important to allow yourself to take breaks.
In the end, going to college should be something that you look back at and can honestly say that you enjoyed every minute of it. You won’t be able to do that if you end up as a “school-a-holic.” I hope these tips will help you enjoy your college experience.
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About the author
About the author
Atira Roberson is a community organizer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves on their Young Adult Leadership Council.