While most people consider the holidays “the most wonderful time of the year,” for some students, not so much. With families to care for, holiday parties to prepare for and gift shopping to finish in between, finding time to complete schoolwork may seem down right impossible. For students, the mounting stress of the holidays can result in late assignments, or, even worse, assignments never submitted at all.
But it’s important to remember that late assignments and missed assignments will have a negative effect on your grade. A failing or incomplete grade can affect your graduation plans. And that’s not very merry at all. So instead of waiting until the last minute and panicking the night before a deadline, here are seven strategies you can use to ensure your homework gets done on time and gift yourself a much needed break.
1. Plan Ahead
It’s easy to lose track of deadlines when the days are filled with holiday fun, and that doesn’t leave much time, or thought, for course work. Even with so many (welcome) distractions, it’s important to complete schoolwork on time. To better pace yourself, create a schedule for what assignments are due and when, and break up that work into smaller chunks. Keep this schedule in an easy-to-see place so you can avoid any last minute surprises.
2. Save the Easy Assignments for Later
When you first sit down for a school session, you may feel inclined to get the easy material out of the way. However, your energy and focus are at their peak when you first start. Use this brainpower advantage to get through the most challenging subjects early on. Then, should you really experience holiday and homework crunch time, you’ll be able to complete the smaller assignments with less stress and in less time.
3. Enlist the Elves
You have your your own helpers who are ready and willing to lend a hand: your spouse, kids, siblings, parents, in-laws, grandparents, the list goes on. Instead of feeling obligated to handle all the holiday hoopla alone, get your helpers involved. Let a family member supervise the cooking or make a gift pit stop for you so you can get away for half an hour or so. Or, spend your bonding time with family wisely; instead of finding gifts for your kids to give grandma and grandpa, save yourself an extra shopping trip and sit down together to handcraft something special. Not only will you save time and money, you’ll also have a wonderful family memory. And isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about?
4. Be Realistic
The holiday season is also a hectic one; unrealistically high expectations for yourself may cause your schoolwork to suffer. Trying to do too much will leave you drained and burnt out. Combat this by asking your family which holiday traditions they treasure the most, and cut out the rest. If your teenagers don’t enjoy holiday light shows anymore, then save yourself the trip and use it to get your schoolwork done instead. And when you’ve finished, you can spend your time doing the things your kids actually do like. Be reasonable with your time, and you can balance work and holiday fun.
5. Shop Smart
Obviously, you can save yourself a lot of time, money and hassle by shopping online. But being savvy about it can make all the difference. Give yourself a time limit to scour sites for the best deals and comparison shop. If you don’t find a better offer online after 10 minutes, stop, and move on. Most importantly, avoid or turn off any sale alerts. If you keep leaving your schoolwork behind to check your email inbox for the latest deals, you’ll never get it done. Save the emails for later; in a few hours, the sales will still be there.
6. Reward Yourself
Take breaks in between studying by giving yourself an extra holiday treat or two, or spend it with friends and family. To feel reenergized and refreshed, take a break that lasts 20-30 minutes, coincidentally, the same amount of time it takes to bake a batch of cookies or wrap up a few gifts! Whatever you do, take a break that is mentally or physically active, and you’ll be at your most productive when you return.
7. If all else fails… Request a Course Extension
If you’re looking for the gift of time, Thomas Edison State University students may apply for an eight-week course extension as long as you continue to make satisfactory progress in your course. Your mentor must be able to certify that at least 50 percent of your course work has been completed. After submitting the course extension request, along with the fee, you’ll receive an extension approval via email from the University.
Written by Thomas Edison State University