Don’t stress: one day at a time

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Starting a new semester always gives me a momentary panic attack. You know how it is: You walk into each class for the first time, and along with a giant syllabus detailing all of the papers and projects and speeches you’ll have to complete for the year comes a load of stress.

‘Will I be able to get it all done?’ you think. Well, I’m here to reassure you (and me): I’ve been here six semesters running and never have I not been able to get it all done.

When you start copying all of the deadlines into your planner – assuming you do that – it does get overwhelming. Profs who try to save you heartache later by giving you assignments far in advance nearly give you an aneurysm at the beginning of the semester. The key to making it through these crucial first weeks of class is to focus on assignments in the order they are due.

Instead of freaking out about a comprehensive final in December, just do the daily reading so you’ll be on top of things for the first test. Don’t spend your time worrying about the 12-page paper that’s due just after Thanksgiving when all your prof wants is a rough idea of a topic in two weeks.

Although it may sound like I’m encouraging procrastination, that is not the case. I’m merely reminding you to maintain some perspective. If you’re the type of person who can’t see the forest for the trees, you might have to take some steps to preserve your mental health. You know those blinders that horses wear during parades? They get all skittish when they see how big the crowd is. You might have to find some “blinders” of your own to keep you from seeing the assignments that are threatening your stress levels. Just block them out – but don’t forget to stay on top of it all!