The burden on students
Are you overwhelmed by your studies? Do you feel that your life at school, whether it is high school or university, is unmotivating? Welcome then! I do not know the figures, but I know that there are many students whose day-to-day experiences are similar to yours: they struggle to finish assignments on time and get through the course. Overwhelmed, stressed, distressed, and even periodically anxious students, haven’t we had enough?
A very common reality: student overwhelm
I have been a high school teacher and counsellor, and I have seen too many overwhelmed students. But even earlier, when I was at school myself and sat at the same desks, I remember constantly struggling to finish my homework and study what was on my agenda. I felt that I was always racing, whatever I did, generally there was not enough time to complete my work with calm. I have had thousands of exams throughout my life and I could say that practically all of them kept me busy until the last minute. It was like a constant shadow, with the feeling that I would not have enough time, that I had to hurry.
Experiencing anxiety at exam time is not something strange, especially in high school. It is true that not all stresses have the same causes and that there are many other students who never worry, although they should: those who do not care at all. Students who deliberately leave everything to the last minute; It is normal for students who fear failing to experience distress. They have to assess whether it is worth putting everything off or making the effort ahead of time.
One that was not overwhelmed. How did he manage?
But I was not one of these. Rather, I tried to comply with everything. And due to perfectionism, due to poor time management, due to an excess in poorly planned tasks … I lived in a constant struggle to finish. I wondered: couldn’t I be like “Mark”? Because Mark was just the opposite in my class. He was almost always relaxed when it came to exams and rarely made time for them on the last day. Everything under control, without stress, without haste! And on top of that he got particularly good grades. What was the secret?
It would not be fair to hide the fact that Mark was highly intelligent, but also Mark was very organized, he had good study discipline. Nor would it be fair to deny that there was nobody else like him.
The causes of this struggle against time and the burden that accompanies it are various. If you want to beat them, you will have to identify them. I’m just going to talk about a healthy practice that can help you discover the causes while reducing the level of burden: always plan! Let’s see if we can look more like my friend Mark.
A remedy available to everyone: planning
I admit that it can be a bummer, that it seems like it takes time, but we need to plan each day. And I specify more: we need to plan in a concrete and detailed way. That is to say: decide what to do at any time and for how long, setting boundaries to the tasks and the total work session. You have to set limits and try to respect them, and you also have to evaluate what we are achieving in order to re-plan. Is this exceedingly difficult?
There are those who are not able to sustain the habit of planning. They are soon discouraged when they see that things do not go as expected and they feel that it is not worth it. But this is false: they begin to identify what is going wrong and without a doubt they do study worse when they plan ahead. Rather the opposite: they begin to be somewhat more effective and less overwhelmed. When I could see the plans made by my students, I could better understand what was happening to each student.
For those students who spend too much time studying, planning is even more important: Set a list of tasks with start times and end times for each one! Plan the long term ones at the top, but the short term ones, plan them in detail: today, this afternoon, what you are going to do in the next 3 hours. I think these guidelines helped students in my tutoring who were stuck or wasting an enormous amount of time on their homework.
An app against stress: it plans your study and homework for you.
Since I know how difficult it is to organize oneself well and maintain the right study habit, I came up with an app to make it easier. You can try STUDEAM: an app that helps you do just this. It is a study and homework planner, a virtual agenda that organizes your study automatically. You introduce the tasks, and this study app plans for you in one click. So, there are no other virtual calendars (you can look at Shovel to find something “similar”). If you want to get a clearer idea, take a look at this tutorial of the tool:
This saves you the laziness of thinking about it and drawing it on paper. I was very lazy to plan, and I have found that many students do not plan well. That is why I decided to build this smart virtual agenda, because I believe that it can help many students to improve their time management and study habits.
But if you cannot manage with apps, the important thing is that you plan in some way, on whatever piece of scrap paper you have at hand, thinking it over, but without getting bogged down. Better concrete planning that can be improved, than not having a plan at all. I sincerely hope that it helps you discover what is wrong, correct it and experience your day in a different way. And if you do not make progress, ask your counsellor or your pedagogical advisor for help. Because you cannot spend your life “burdened by studies.”
Luis Javier Alvarez
CEO at Task & Time