High school is a busy time for students who are juggling classes, extra-curriculars, SAT studies, time with friends, and college applications. With the whirlwind of assignments and deadlines flying by, it can feel overwhelming to get everything done.
Alumna Sheila Roberts has some insights to share when it comes to managing a heavy workload.
Break Down Tasks with To-Do Lists
Backtracking to when I was in high school and college, I think making a to-do list for the week and having a calendar with goals on it was really helpful so I could sit down and look at all my classes and say, ‘Okay, here are all my assignments, here’s when they’re due,’ and then to look at the individual weeks I had left before things were due and break down how to get it done in chunks. I know it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you have to do, so figuring out how to sequence them best is really helpful. Most things get a lot less scary when you break them down into smaller parts.
Set Reasonable Expectations for Yourself
I had this big legal notepad, and I would color code my assignments per class and then make a giant list of everything that had to get done for the week per assignment. It was kind of a lot, but I could see everything that needed to get done—what was important to do when and how to break everything down into daily to-do lists. That really helped so things didn’t sneak up on me.
Choose Healthy Habits
This is only something I started to think about during the last few semesters of college, but dealing with anxiety and stress, whether I’m forced to do something hard or whether I decided to do it on my own, has a huge impact. Voluntarily starting assignments when I had enough time to get them done and developing that discipline over time was so helpful. It’s like voluntarily confronting something and dealing with it as opposed to being pushed into it at the last second and feeling like you don’t have any time or any options on how to deal with an assignment.
Plan to Rest
The hardest part is being intentional about finding times to rest. You actually have to make time to rest. Otherwise, you will rest at other times and procrastinate, so being self-disciplined enough to make time for myself, like taking a few hours on a Sunday or something like that. Take time to recharge and relax when you know you have stuff to do, and when it gets down to crunch time and deadlines, you can actually focus enough to work.
Take Advantage of the Opportunity
On a more philosophical note: I think high school and college are really tough, and they’re really tough in unique ways. So like right now, I’m working full-time, I just started new responsibilities at my job, I got engaged so I’m planning a wedding, I’m also trying to find a new apartment, and this is less stressful than finals season.
It gets better, and school is a really unique time, so don't let that stress overwhelm you. Don't think that all of life is going to be like this because it does get better, and you can learn unique stress management skills in high school and college that are going to help you later.
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