While the beginning of a new school year can be very exciting, the pressure of college can quickly become overwhelming. The stress caused by homework, studying and taking exams has a way of building up and overpowering our ability to cope with all the things that life decides to throw our way.
So before life gets the chance to knock you down, here are a few pieces of advice to help you survive your time at Portland State and stay happy and healthy in the process.
1. Balance work and fun
Studying at a university doesn’t have to mean all work and no play. In fact, stopping to take a break and doing something you actually enjoy can do you a world of good. If you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, take the time to appreciate a fun afternoon out with friends or an evening curled up with a good book.
Even half an hour of genuine downtime can make a great difference in your ability to stay positive and continue to do well in school.
2. Don’t cram
No matter what people have told you, cramming before a big exam is only going to make you tired and less likely to remember the material.
Instead of studying in large blocks that will tire you out, break large projects or study sessions into smaller pieces. You are going to retain more material this way, and it will prevent you from ruining an entire weekend trying to finish an important research paper at the last minute.
3. Remember your long-term goals and why you came to the university
If you ever start to feel down in the dumps about school, or start to question why you are going to school, remind yourself of your long-term goals.
Remind yourself of your career goals, academic ambitions or plans for after graduation. Reinforcing the reasons you wanted to go to college in the first place will help you stay positive along the way.
4. Develop a positive attitude toward school
Even if you only see school as a means to a high-paying job after graduation, it is important to develop a positive attitude toward your work.
Each class you take is a step toward your future, and if you give up on a required course because you don’t like the subject or the teacher then you are going to end up delaying your degree and losing valuable experience.
5. Know the resources available to you at PSU
There are a plethora of resources available at PSU to ensure that you do well in school.
If you are struggling in your classes, there are several tutoring options. In the library, you can visit the Writing Center to get guidance and criticism on your writing assignments or talk to the librarians to get help finding specific resources.
The Learning Center also provides more subject-specific tutoring and online services to make sure that you are able to do well in all of your classes.
You can also visit the counselors at Student Health and Counseling throughout the week to discuss problems or concerns you have while you are attending PSU. Knowing there is always someone you can turn to and talk with will help you through hard times. There are also 24/7 hotlines available for when the offices are closed at night or on the weekends.
6. Ask for help before you really need it
If you notice yourself falling behind or struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your teachers, counselors and other PSU staff are literally paid to make sure you are doing well, and it would be a waste to not make use of their professional skills.
Small problems can quickly becoming more serious if we don’t take the time to fix them, so it’s always a good idea to deal with any academic or personal issues right away.
7. Enjoy your college experience!
While we all attend college to learn, it is important to also enjoy the time you spend in school. When you look back on the four years that you spent at university you will want to remember them well. So join some clubs, make some friends and appreciate everything PSU has to offer!