Life @ U of T

Introduction

How I Deal with Six Courses

How I Deal with Six Courses

This semester I am attempting to take SIX art-sci courses (and pass them!) We’re only a few weeks into the semester and I already feel drowned by work, but I’m not ready to give up yet. The workload can be a struggle but this is how I’ve been managing it so far: 

Stay Organised

This is easier said than done. I try to keep organized in three ways. 

  • I make a master list of every assignment/essay/test, in the order that I need to get them done and I keep it visible on my desk at all times.
masterlist of homework.
  • I write out weekly and daily tasks in my agenda (at the start of the week and then also every morning).
  • I write everything on a calendar so that I can visualize how much time I actually have.
handmade calendar.

Tackling Assignments

Recently I’ve been tracking how much time I spend on homework by the hour.

  • First I make my to-do list and beside every task I write out how long I think I will need to spend on it. I’ve found that if I structure my work like this I can actually spend less time on it. 
my agenda with to-do lists.

  • When I am doing readings and writing essays I set up a timer in my line of sight so that I see how much time I am taking. I’ve noticed that this really helps me keep on task because I am prone to taking five minute breaks that turn into YouTube binges. When I see the timer I am reminded to keep working. 
computer with timer on iPad screen beside it.
  • When I’m really procrastinating I try to visualise myself as some nineteenth-century academic who is fascinated by the research she needs to do. I’m not too sure why this works but sometimes imaging myself as a scholar in a dark academia story is enough to get me on task. Sometimes I light a few candles!

Dealing with Stress

In my experience it’s usually the build up of stress rather than the actual workload that leads to dropping a course. It’s more important than ever to give yourself time to rest.

  • Blogger Talia recently wrote a great post on quick tips for reducing stress.
  • Our old team captain and blogger Grusha–who has also taken six courses–encouraged an increase in self-care and giving yourself quiet moments.
  • I try to never do work after 9:00 pm and every afternoon I make myself a cup of tea and take time off. At breakfast and lunch I just sit and eat rather than look at my computer screen, and at dinner I eat with my roommates.
  • I prioritise going outside on a walk every day. 
winter landscape photo of water and trees.
  • If the stress is preventing me from getting to work I will start writing through my thoughts in my journal. 

Lastly, know what your goals are. Getting the course credit might be worth more than a high grade. Other times, when I am super interested in the content of a course, that is enough motivation for me to keep up with it. Six courses can be hectic but not impossible–and it will be okay if you end up dropping one. 

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