for a lot of us, it seems nearly impossible to find a balance between our grades and our health. i’ve created a list of tips and resources for managing classwork as well as mental illness. i tried to be inclusive of depression and anxiety as well as other disorders like adhd and bipolar. (i’d like to be more inclusive of others, but i couldn’t find a lot of resources and wasn’t sure what would help aaaa)
please let me know if you have anything to add, and i hope this post can help you out in some way c:
- create a routine, and do your best to stick to it. having a consistent schedule can be a struggle, especially when dealing with long days of class or difficulties with sleep. try something more open-ended and flexible if you can’t manage specific times. (studying for an hour in the morning and before bed vs studying at 8 am and 10 pm)
- start with your favourite subject. there are a lot of suggestions on how to start a study session (and they usually conflict it seems), but i’ve found that this works best for me. your favourite subject may be easy or difficult, but by starting with it, you get in the groove of studying and won’t get burnt out as quickly, giving you more energy to do your other work.
- don’t take on more than what you can handle. if you’re feeling motivated, great! get as much done as you can! but on the bad days, just do what you can. there are times where it seems nearly impossible to get anything done, but still try to make the most out of each day and do what you’re able to so you don’t fall far behind. do what you can, when you can. don’t overwork yourself so much.
- take notes. for me, the easiest way to lose track during a class is if i don’t write or doodle. even if the material doesn’t seem important, write it down! it may be useful later, and it’ll keep your mind from wandering during lecture. (that being said, don’t always write things exactly as the teacher says; putting it into your own words can make it easier to remember and understand)
- record lecture audio. if you can’t copy everything down in time, or if for whatever reason you need to know something verbatim, then you’ll have something to listen to again later.
- take pics of what the instructor writes on the board. similar to the above tip, you can refer back to the pictures you took. just don’t forget about them! write yourself a note or make an alarm on your phone to remind you that there’s more material to review.
don’t be the kid who takes pictures during the whole lecture but never writes anything, that kid’s obnoxious and gets bad grades
- stay focused. i fidget a lot with my hands and feet, especially during a long lecture or study session. i find that keeping my hand on my pen/pencil is the simplest way to keep my mind on track, but fidget toys may help you as well. most teachers and students are fine with it as long as it’s not too disruptive.
- keep track of medication. ngl i am suuuper forgetful when it comes to medication :’) if you’re forgetful too, leave yourself as many reminders as you can. set alarms, write notes, or have someone else keep you accountable if you’re living with a parent or roommate. having routine helps here as well, especially if you take meds multiple times a day.
- communicate regularly with your doctor. if you’re living away from home, or just a busy student, it can be particularly difficult to make appointments. but you should still make an effort to email your doctor, therapist, etc. at least once a month, and more often if you’re currently changing or adjusting medications.
- “catching up” on sleep is a myth. depriving yourself of sleep during the week and then sleeping in on the weekends won’t fix your sleep schedule, sadly. keep it consistent if you can. even if you’re staying up late and sleeping in, try to get at least 7-8 hours. whether it’s 12-8 am or 2-10 am, it’s a reasonable amount for getting through the day. sleeping too little can leave you tired and grumpy in the morning, but sleeping too much can also leave you groggy, sluggish, and unproductive for the rest of the day.
- eat something healthy. okay, no one can eat healthy all the time, and i don’t expect you to. i certainly don’t expect myself to lol. but we can still find a healthy snack or meal to make a part of our lives. sometimes fruit is the best comfort food tbh. here are a few simple snacks that you could try, for studying or for whatever else. i personally enjoy anything with berries, especially yogurt parfait or oatmeal.
have a support system. it helps so much to have someone you can talk to when you’re not feeling well or in need of encouragement. it can be a friend, a parent, a sibling, your significant other, or even other members of the studyblr community! (if you don’t have anyone to talk to, please talk to me!! i am here for you my friendo)
- community college by @universi-tea - if you’re worried about moving into dorms or away from home (or are simply unable to), i strongly encourage you to try out community college. it’s made schooling much more enjoyable and accessible for me and i think everyone should give it a chance. plus it’s waaay cheaper.
also, most (if not all) U.S. schools have a disability services department; this applies to both physical and mental illnesses. talking to them for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but in the long run it’s completely worth it. teachers and staff want to help you! but you have to help yourself a lil bit too. accommodations may include leniency about attendance and deadlines, or they may let you take exams on earlier or later dates with fewer students present. the flexibility with deadlines has saved my ass more than once tbh
- things to do when things don’t feel right by @affectionsuggestions - sometimes it’s okay to just do small things, and sometimes it’s okay to not do anything at all.
- ways to start feeling again by @urbanthropologie - similar to above, but with a focus on mindfulness (helps with anxiety, dissociation, etc)
- my mental illness tag - this has many other resources that are otherwise not listed in this post.
- my printables tag! - printables are great for when you’re too tired or not sure how to write things out completely by hand. there are some planners and calendars as well as gratitude logs, habit trackers, etc.
- i have tons of other tags listed here if you need anything more specific :>
thank you for reading! i hope you found some of these tips helpful. i believe in you!!