It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that most college students, especially those majoring in STEM and technical disciplines, habitually suffer from a tremendous homework overload. Each professor seems to be completely sure that only his/her subject is worth studying and gives so many home assignments that they would be hard to complete even if there were no other responsibilities to deal with. Students spend the majority of their time researching for their home assignments, preparing for them, writing them, revising them, and so on. Some manage to deal with this problem somehow; others quickly get bogged down under the interminable stream of homework and despair to ever deal with this workload. If you recognize yourself in this description, you have probably already been looking for ways out of this predicament. After all, studies show that not being able to deal with one’s homework can have a variety of consequences in addition to getting poorer grades, such as:
- Ever-growing levels of stress;
- Diminishing efficiency of learning;
- Poorer results in tests;
- Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
So what can you do about it? Let’s find out.
Keep Track of Your Homework
Even though the amount of homework you receive from your professors may seem excessive, chances are it was not so from the very beginning. Quite often students suffer from homework overload not because they are given too many assignments to complete, but because they do not apply any effort to keep track of everything they have to do and discover that they have too many deadlines lined up when it is too late to do anything about it.
To counter this, you should always be aware of when and how much you are supposed to hand in. There are many calendar apps these days, so feel free to choose whatever works for you. Google Calendar is probably the easiest to use.
This tip naturally follows from the previous one. Once you know what and when you are supposed to hand it in, do not sit around waiting. When you receive an assignment, do not wait for the deadline to creep closer to start working on it. Start as soon as you have time to do so. Thus, you will secure yourself from unpleasant surprises later on.
If it becomes obvious that you are not going to complete all your homework on time, you should cut your losses. Take a look at everything you have to do and ask yourself, what is the most important assignment in front of you? What should you pay special attention to? What can you afford to do a mediocre job about? After you do it, distribute your effort accordingly.
Battle Your Perfectionism
In homework, just like in many other things, the 80/20 rule works wonders. Do you really have to spend hours upon hours perfecting this coding assignment? Do you really have to memorize every rule from this textbook chapter? The important thing here, especially if you have a great deal of work to complete, is to learn to recognize the moment when the job you did is good enough. You do not have to do an ideal job – it is probably impossible. After a certain point, every subsequent hour you spend working on an assignment is going to bring you ever-diminishing returns. Saying that 20 percent of work creates 80 percent of results is probably pushing it a little bit, but you certainly do not have to waste hours upon hours of your precious time polishing an assignment that is already done, especially if you have a dozen other tasks waiting for you.
Get Something Done
Sometimes you have no other choice but to get down and just do the task in any way you can, knowing full well you are not going to do a particularly good job of it. Even if you fail to get a good grade for it, you will take a shot at it, and the feedback you will receive is going to teach you something. Anyway, handing in something, even if it is not done perfectly, is better than not showing the professor anything.
Quite often, the devil is not as black as he is painted. You may avoid starting a task and beat yourself up about it because you believe it to be larger, harder, and more complex than it really is. So, instead of procrastinating, take your next assignment, read the instructions carefully and make it absolutely clear for yourself what is expected of you and how much time it is going to take. More often than not, you will discover that the work you have in front of you is much more manageable than you thought.
When nothing else helps and you cannot realistically complete all the homework you are given, there are only two things you can do: either resign to receiving poor grades, thus endangering your education as a whole; or look for some professional assistance. Fortunately, these days it is not hard to find a service that would provide online assignment help – as long as you are careful about what service to choose, you are unlikely to run into any trouble.
Homework overload can be a real and very frustrating problem – but with the right approach, you can successfully deal with it.
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