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Overwhelmed in College? 5 Study Techniques to Help You Thrive

Are you feeling overwhelmed in college? You’re not alone. With the academic workload, social pressures, and newfound independence, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in responsibilities. But fear not, there are effective study techniques to help you navigate through this challenging time and excel in your academics. In this blog post, we’ll explore five study techniques tailored to help college students combat feelings of overwhelm and achieve success.


Overwhelmed at college photo of books


1. Prioritize and Plan: One of the biggest contributors to feeling overwhelmed is a lack of organization and time management. Start by creating a weekly schedule that outlines all your classes, assignments, extracurricular activities, and personal commitments. Use tools like planners, calendars, or digital apps to keep track of your tasks. For a free online to do list, check out Asana. You can also download and print planners from various websites like this one. Prioritize your assignments based on deadlines and importance. Breaking down your workload into manageable chunks and tackling them one at a time can significantly reduce feelings of overwhelm. I may be a bit biased, but the High School Hints Study Organizer lays out different techniques for planning and prioritizing your study because each student is different.


2. Active Learning: Passive studying, like re-reading textbooks or notes, is not as effective as active learning techniques. Instead of merely absorbing information, engage with it actively. Practice active recall by testing yourself on the material regularly. Create flashcards, quizzes, or summaries to reinforce your understanding. Form study groups with classmates to discuss concepts and share insights. Teaching others is also an excellent way to solidify your knowledge while helping your peers. For more ideas and tricks, this article contains an in-depth look at some of these techniques.


3. Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care: It’s essential to take breaks and prioritize self-care to prevent burnout and overwhelm. Incorporate short, regular breaks into your study sessions to rest and recharge. Go for a walk, meditate, or engage in activities you enjoy to clear your mind. Additionally, prioritize sleep, nutrition, and exercise to support your overall well-being. A healthy body and mind are crucial for optimal academic performance. I know this is easier said than done, but try incorporate just one extra self care habit into your routine. It may be making sure you have breakfast everyday, or going for a daily walk.


Overwhelmed at school laptop on traty


4. Utilize Resources and Support Services: Don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it. Colleges offer a variety of resources and support services to assist students academically and emotionally. Take advantage of tutoring services, writing centers, and academic workshops to enhance your learning. If you’re struggling with mental health issues or personal challenges, reach out to counseling services or student support groups for guidance and support. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you find you really can't handle the pressure, consider taking a gap semester or taking fewer units each semester - it likely won't have a big impact on the duration of your studies.


5. Adopt Effective Study Techniques: Finally, experiment with different study techniques to find what works best for you. Some students thrive in quiet environments, while others prefer background noise. Discover your preferred learning style, whether it’s visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, and tailor your study methods accordingly. Experiment with techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (studying in short bursts with breaks in between), the Feynman Technique (explaining concepts in simple terms), or the SQ3R Method (survey, question, read, recite, review) to enhance your comprehension and retention of material.


Feeling overwhelmed in college is common, but it’s not insurmountable. By implementing these study techniques and strategies, you can regain control of your academic journey and thrive amidst the challenges. Remember to prioritize organization, active learning, self-care, seeking support, and experimenting with effective study methods. With determination, perseverance, and the right tools at your disposal, you can conquer feelings of overwhelm and achieve success in college.

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