Three BIG tips for preventing​ anxiety this semester

Three BIG tips for preventing​ anxiety this semester

As a student, while obtaining my first degree, I was often overwhelmed to the point that I wondered how I would accomplish everything I had been assigned. And then I would take a nap. Here are my top tips to prevent anxiety in the new semester. 

I’ve talked about how anxiety affects me before and I’ll say it again, I SHUT DOWN. When I say I took a nap, I mean I took naps, every day, for about two hours. I would be so overwhelmed by the anxiety that all these tasks and assignments built up and I somehow never learned from these experiences. After completing everything, I would look back and realize it did not take me nearly as long as my mind convinced me it would, and I would easily complete everything before it was due.

So why was it so difficult for me to get through college?  I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Looking back, I realize I could have been more successful had I had the diagnosis back then and learned the proper ways to deal with the disorder. 

School bag - Three BIG tips for preventing​ anxiety this semester

This year, I finally get to be a digital student.

I had always wished that I could get my books digitally on my old Kindle Fire, but when I was in college, most textbooks were not offered as digital or hybrid books. I thought it would be so great to have a lighter book bag on my ten-minute walk to school.

I also was broke as a joke and had a broke mindset so I would have never spent money on an iPad or new versions of textbooks. But now, the iPad 9.7 inch is a pretty affordable option compared to a new laptop.

There are many benefits to going digital, but make sure you clear with your professors that you can bring electronics into class and use digital textbooks before going all in.

1// Plan to Plan.

I want you to become BFF’s with your planner. Especially for me, with an anxiety disorder that prevents me from functioning with the more on my plate, a planner is  essential. It’s also very important for a student.

This year I am a digital student and I do all my planning and note-taking digitally using my iPad and my Apple pencil. My planner is also digital, but not like what you may think.

Many people have their beloved paper planner. They’re cute, they’re efficient, they’re also heavy and bulky. Plus you have to have multiple pens, markers, highlighters to add that to the scale. Book bags are cumbersome enough.

Setting a time to review that planner daily and a time to do the planning weekly will ensure you utilize the planner for all it’s worth. I know that at one point I would spend $15 or 20 bucks on an adorable planner and then it would stay in my bookbag through the whole semester.

Another key tip to a less anxious semester is to know your battle plan before stepping into the field. 

This is also where more planning comes in!

  • As soon as you can get your syllabus and schedule, add it to your planner in a quick view format including all assignments and exams from other classes, add them a week or more before the assignment or exam, and on the date of the exam/ assignment in the monthly view and weekly view. Having big items like this in many places will help remind you about the due date so you can focus on what is current and not what you might miss in the future. 
  • Create a study plan. Yes, I want you to predetermine when and how much will study. This is a must because we all know life jumps ahead of study time. I’ll let anything jump ahead of study time! But if I have an assigned time during the week to study a specific subject, I will more likely do it. Use that lovely planner of yours to plan out what days to study what sections of what subjects.
  • This tip is a shoot-off of the first tip: break it up into small, manageable chunks. Studying the material two to three days before a test will not help you retain the information, no matter how much you pride yourself on working well under pressure. It is best to use the days leading up to a test to simply review the information you have already committed to your memory. Break your subjects into small and manageable study sessions, reviewing material you cover in your last study session the first five minutes of today’s session.
  • Have a study “accountability partner”. My husband and I have decided that every day during the week will sit down after dinner for one hour to study or review notes or complete homework assignments. Having someone who is also committed to bettering themselves through continued education is a great way to be inspired to do well. Healthy competition never hurt anyone, but be sure to be encouraging to your partner and open to their encouragement for you.

2 // Start organized and stay organized.

I have always hated lugging things around as demonstrated by my desire to go digital. I had upper back issues and carrying a heavy book bag aggravated it.

In my freshman year of high school, I bought a half-inch, three-ring binder and individual binders for each subject. I carried the half-inch binder with me to class with notes from the current section of each class separated by labeled dividers.

I also carried a stylish pocket folder, as mentioned before, to hold whatever handouts or papers I received in class. Once I completed the test, I would transfer all the notes and papers over to the correct binder in my locker.

I continued this through college to minimize the strain on my back and to have fewer items to stuff in my bag or carry in my arms.

Buy everything you anticipate needing and don’t worry if you need to go back for more things later. 

Buying dividers and notebooks beforehand will get you started on the right track to minimizing the anxiety caused by lost papers or unorganized thoughts.

Check out my Amazon School Shopping list HERE.

Somethings you may need:

1 // PLANNER! (Follow this link to buy my digital planner) or if you’re still in the old days, I love this planner

2 // Three-ring binders per class or spiral notebooks.

3 // A set of dividers per notebook, if using notebooks. Otherwise, look for stick-on tabs to add to your spiral-bound notebook.

4 // Page protectors for the handouts given to you in class. Displaying handouts in these throughout the section notes can make for continuity in studying.

5 // File Organizer for home or car, if you are going the digital route.

6 // Highlighters of a few colors or many colors. Make a single sheet key that goes in each notebook or your planner that can remind you what the colors mean for you. (Yellow = important, blue = vocabulary word, pink = for sure test material, etc.)

7 // Pen or pencil? I prefer a thin pen because it looks so neat to me. Which do you prefer?

8 // Adorable pencil case for all those pens and highlighters.

9 // Consider using graph or dotted paper to write your notes on. It can help create clean note-taking habits.

How will this transfer to my new digital setup?

Well, mostly it won’t. The apps I mentioned previously are fantastic at organizing your notes. You can add in PDFs, pictures, (and recordings in Notability) into your notes to have a complete look at the subject you’re studying. 

But, I will carry a small file holder to hold onto handout that I will then transfer into my larger file organizer that will be in my car. I will also be creating the color key for my digital notebooks, along with using one of my Digital Notebooks, like my Air Notebook with Tabs linked {here} to set up my digital notebooks before class.

EXTRA TIP: Do you drive to school? Buy a milk crate (mine is pink;)) or large basket to keep in your trunk or backseat to keep all your books, folders, and notebooks organized in your car! The plastic storage or milk crates are kind of the perfect size for milk jugs…..and notebooks and books.

Looking for more tips on preventing anxiety? Check out my Five Tips to Prevent Anxiety Post, here.

3 // We love to read! Read ahead of time.

Pre-reading can help minimize confusion during class. You don’t have to read the entire chapter, but scanning over the main and subheadings can familiarize you with what your professor will be covering in that class. 

Take a sticky note and write all the bolded words on it and stick it to the first page of the chapter.  A sticky note with the keywords can be used for many different things. 

  • You can highlight words the professor specifically uses
  • have a list of words to use to make flashcards
  • be familiar with the terms that are coming up

Also, take the time to analyze any diagrams or graphs in the chapter. These are excellent test questions and will most likely be on your test

If you’re really feeling motivated, get your textbook a few weeks before class and read the first chapters, this way you are always ahead on your reading!

Book - Three BIG tips for preventing​ anxiety this semester

Got any tips to help us avoid anxiety this semester? 

Comment Below!

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