From Papers to Tests, Presentations to Labs

There sure is a lot of stuff wrapped up in college life. At times, it can be hard to remember that education is your ultimate goal. With roommate squabbles, part-time jobs, extreme dating, athletics, and toga parties on the brain - who has time for school, right?

Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that making the academic experience a priority now, increases the chances of success later on. Academic stresses take many forms and can affect students in different ways. Procrastination is a common stumbling block for many personality types. Research shows that poor prioritization and time management often sabotage undergrads, mentally, physically and academically. Putting off reading, paper writing, and other studying until the last minute has a two-pronged effect. It increases your chances of doing poorly. And it can stir up feelings of stress and anxiety that are easily avoidable.

Numerous studies prove that there is a strong correlation between time management and academic performance. Keeping tight control overtime - or even feeling in control of time - leads to high levels of life satisfaction. This type of person typically has a positive view of self, performs better on exams, and generally feels less stressed.

Despite the evidence, some people insist that they work better under pressure. Experts suggest the truth behind this argument is that some people only work under pressure. By never tackling anything ahead of schedule, there is no real grasp of what could be accomplished under different circumstances. Mapping out a reasonable schedule and staying on top of important benchmarks can help minimize wasted time and maximize success.

Although squandering valuable time often leads to anxiety, some students experience an entirely different type of academic stress. Developing anxiety over exams, presentations, or other course milestones can trip up even the best time managers. To battle these demons, simply planning ahead and following a schedule may not be enough. Studying effectively and knowing the material certainly helps ease some test-related stress. Practicing in front of friends can also make speaking in public a little less scary, but what if stress persists. This is when it really pays to be proactive.

Professors and counselors at your school's counseling and academic skills centers can lend a hand in managing the triggers that cause unnecessary stress. Scheduling a one-on-one appointment, joining a discussion or study group, or simply learning a few new strategies through informal conversation can be helpful in many ways. And the relationships you establish by seeking help are just as important as extra study sessions. Most professors prefer that students ask for support before blanking on a test or freezing during a presentation. After the fact, it becomes unclear whether you are spinning a cover story to make up for the fact that you weren't prepared.

It's important to remember that a small dose of anxiety can make you buckle down and put on your game face. Cramming for an exam is bad, but not caring enough to study at all is probably worse. Stressing just enough to feel more motivated, determined, and focused can be a real plus. But it's important to take action when stress starts to disrupt other parts of your life or hinder studying. Learning to balance stress and use it to your advantage will help turn academic stress into academic success.

This information was excerpted from