Oh students of 2020, your grit and resilience surpasses every other student known to man. Okay, but really, attending online classes during a time where school systems were definitely not prepared to teach virtually takes patience. Then having to do this in your living room or kitchen where it can be extra stressful and distracting is no easy feat- props to all the students out there.
While the rest of the 2020 school year must have been rough, there are still some of you who have summer classes to go. These tips are for the students don’t have the motivation to keep going, for the serial procrastinators who can’t seem to start any assignments, and for all the students who are at 3% mental capacity with no way to immediately recharge. I feel you, I see you, and I have some simple lazy student tips to help prevent burnout, while still managing to start assignments:
1. Aim forShorter (But More Intentional) Study Sessions
Let’s be real, it’s summer! Who wants to be spending 10 hours a day “trying” to study. There’s no need for that! Don’t sit in front of your laptop for hours texting your friends “lol I haven’t even started anything”. Rather than melting into your chair the whole day blankly staring at all 10 open tabs, just intentionally study for an hour!
Clear your desk, have your textbook or pdfs out, turn off your wifi on you laptop or tablet, and throw your phone out of your room (I mean bury that goddamn distraction machine in the backyard). Make sure there are no distractions!
Once you’re distraction free, write down one or two study goals.
1. Review the Krebbs Cycle
2. Start Lab Write Up
3. Bonus round: Look at next chapter’s intro.
If sitting down for one hour without checking instagram seems too intense, aim for thirty minute intervals rather than an hour. Make sure you put a timer on your phone for 5 or ten minutes, so you don’t get sucked into another 5 hours of scrolling on tik tok vs. living your life outside your phone.
Remember, this is a great way to start studying. If you definitely need more study time, start amping up the times SLOWLY. If you aim for 5 hours study periods the blank screen staring will start all over.
2. Don’t read everything assigned. Don’t do it. Please.
The reason why students don’t start the readings for classes is because there’s just way too much. 80 pages of reading for one class is ridiculous, so student’s think: “Too much, I’m overwhelmed, let’s distract ourselves so we don’t have to suffer”.
Instead of starting from page 1, and reading the same page over and over, just break down the reading. Don’t read every single word on every page. You’ll just stop at page 3 after what seems like 20 hours of your life.
Read the main intro paragraph. Look for the thesis or main point. And highlight or write that down.
Skim paragraphs and look at the topic sentences and concluding sentences which will probably summarize the rest of the paragraph. Look for places where they mention a component of the thesis.
Skim for any important looking “numbers” or “dates” if your teacher or professor is one of those.
Read the conclusion paragraph! That’s it.
If you’re feeling really lazy, just do number 1 and 4. Read the intro and conclusion. Does this guarantee the best results? Questionable. When you’re low energy and burnt out, it’s defnitely better than not reading. But it’s better than NOT reading, because some of the readings really do supplement knowledge. Who would have thought.
3. Read your assignments right when they’re assigned. Just read it.
This may be just for the professional procrastinators, but once an essay or an assignment was given, I would put that thing away without reading it because my brain did NOT want to deal with it at all. That assignment link would be unopened, and essay prompts would be stuffed deep into my backpack.
This terrible habit just allows for further procrastination. Instead, use the reading skills you gained in the first grade and read every single word of that assignment or essay prompt.
DON’T AIM TO START, you’ll just get overwhelmed (unless you can then by all means!). Rather read it for the sake of seeing what the assignments even about. Then it won’t seem too awful.
Example Essay Prompt:
Okay, a four page paper on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I need 5 sources. That way you can keep in mind while doing other assignments and casually jot down a source you would want to use. *Plus it doesn’t seem as impossible because you’re not making up some huge random assignment up in your head as a result of not reading the assignment.
Wow, an intellectual because you read the assignment beforehand! Also if you’re feeling really up to it…mark the due date on a calendar somewhere.
4. This is going to hurt guys, but you just gotta do the work. (Just do baby steps)
The only way you’re going to learn the info is if you read the info. The only way you can submit the assignment is if you do the assignment. So while watching youtube videos on forming good study habits helps, and reading awesome blog posts about studying is great…you also need to chip in and do the work.
If you need to attack everything in bite sized pieces, do that! What I liked to do is write down everything I needed to study, for example:
Write an essay as to why I need to learn this
Review and Memorize the Diagram
Fill in labels
Do this for whichever of your subjects you’re struggling with! Spanish, Math, History etc.
Break down each task to the smallest of pieces, and cross it off when you do it. The momentum of crossing something off each time you do it is enough for you to keep going!
And if you don’t hit everything on your list (something that’s very possible, don’t stress. The list was meant to start momentum for studying or completing an assignment.
5. Prevent Mental Burnout! Only Think of Schoolwork When Doing it
Procrastinators tend to like thinking about how much school work they have, distract themselves, and continue being anxious about schoolwork. While that seems like some weird shortcut way of being a good student- you’re just hurting yourself. It’s causing unnecessary mental burdens and contributes to burn out.
If deep down, you know you’re not going to get any work done, and you’d rather watch an episode of Black Mirror- fine. But if you’re going to watch Black Mirror, don’t you dare think about the schoolwork you need to be doing. Put 100% of your time and brown power into watching Black Mirror. Don’t mull over your essay as as you’re baking cookies, or talking to your friend, or eating snacks with your dog.
If you’re going to procrastinate, you better do it knowing that you’re putting 100% into procrastination.
If you can’t, and you are still obsessing over homework, then you need to refer to tip #1 and pull that 30 minute interval of pure hard work. Once that 30 minutes or an hour is done, then reward yourself of an empty and clear mind while watching a t.v. show or whatever else you like to do.
As a student, thinking about the schoolwork takes about 80% of your day, while working on it is about 20%. If you stop mulling over your procrastination, then you channel your energy into doing the work.
6. If you’re really struggling out here, please communicate with your teacher/ professor
Time and time again, this tip is handed out to unwilling student ears. Who wants to reach out to their professor about failing?? How embarrassing is that?
Well, no, that’s not embarrassing at all. We’re all going through things outside of school (pandemic or no pandemic), and it’s important to communicate your needs as a student to whoever is running the class.
If they don’t try to accommodate or help you, it’s not your fault. You tried to reach out to someone whose job is to HELP STUDENTS. (Why are educators filling up teacher/professor roles if they refuse to help students? WHY?)
Don’t be afraid to try, the worst thing that can happen is your back to trying to learn it on your own (which is what you started with anyway).
So as you see, a lot of the tips mentioned have to do with starting the assignment or studying. It takes a lot of mental energy to go from a place of comfort and rest, to move and do work that’s not exactly pleasant.
Just remember, the more intentional your study time is, the less time you have to waste in general.
It’s really hard to break procrastination, especially with so many new factors to the school setting (aka your home), but with some of these tips I hope you guy truly crush summer classes this year!