Exams, assignments, final deadlines: Lisa’s guide to managing it all

The end of the semester approaches, and I’m sure we’re all inundated with exams and final deadlines,  which for some reason seem to all collide into one gigantic ball of, well, stress.

Even though it’s something we’re used to, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed. I’ve personally got eight separate deadlines due over the next three weeks, so I’m feeling it too.

Hopefully, I can offer some words of advice and help with how to manage it all!

Now, I can guarantee a lot of us are behind in at least one subject, maybe by a couple or more weeks. Which is understandable: it’s hard to find an incentive to do work in the current global climate (if you need some tips on how to stay motivated, I wrote a post all about it here). 

The first instinct might be to panic as you start to look at the approaching dates, and feel drowned by a wave of stress. Well, stop, take a deep breath, and approach it step-by-step. This may seem like I’m stating the obvious, but sometimes having it written down clears the air a little bit.

Put it in writing

Write up a list of all the due dates you have in chronological order, mark it on your calendar, set reminders in your phone. Starting with the first assignment, check the LMS or subject guide for the brief on what you need to do, and if there’s something you’re not clear on, speak to someone in your class, or your professor. Every little thing helps! Repeat this step with every assignment.

But what about time?

Of course, everything has to be submitted by a certain date which can sometimes be off-putting, adding another degree of pressure. 

Sometimes, working through your assignments chronologically isn’t always the way forward. Sometimes, it’s a matter of how long a task might take you. If you feel one assignment might take you thirty minutes, but another might be longer, do the shorter one first! You can also try using the library’s assessment planner to input your assignment deadlines. It will break down your assignments into smaller tasks and calculate dates to finish those tasks as you lead up to submission day. That way you can simultaneously work on different assignments to make sure you complete them all.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: not getting the exact grade you wanted is not the end of the world. We can’t be perfect, and circumstances change all the time as the year goes by, and each time we’re faced with assessments: mental, physical, academic, personal, which will all impact how you work.

My best piece of advice is to organise yourself, which sounds blatantly obvious, yes. But, making a list and having the tasks and dates put in front of you, helps in the simplest way. The next thing you know, it’ll be winter break and you will be able to sit back and marvel at all you achieved in a crazy Semester 1! 

Good luck!