Weekly Academic Success Tip - Dealing With Mid-Semester Stressors

This week is the eighth week of classes.  Stress is on the rise.  Some students are choosing negative coping strategies.  Instead, use positive coping strategies like the ones below for your stressors:


Stressor: You are behind in reading for one or more courses.

  • Focus first on current reading assignments so that you are not lost in class.
  • Fit in back reading a few pages or one case at a time until you are caught up again.
  • Avoid becoming dependent on commercial case briefs instead of reading yourself. 

Stressor: You have read everything but are feeling clueless in the course.

  • Determine what you need to do to gain understanding of the material.
  • Some students need to get an overview first before they learn the parts: look at a table of contents, look at the syllabus organization, look at a graphic representation of the topic, read about the topic to get a preview.
  • Some students need to learn the separate parts before they can understand the overview: after each series of cases, focus on the synthesis into the sub-topic; after several sub-topics, focus on the synthesis into the topic; after several topics, focus on the synthesis into the overall course.
  • Consider whether working with a classmate would help you.
  • Consider whether going to the professor with questions would help you.
  • Consider whether reading a carefully chosen supplement would help you.
  • If you are a 1L, consider whether going to your Academic Fellow during office hours would help you.
  • Consider doing all of the above if that is what it takes to sort out the course.

Stressor: You are behind in outlines for your courses.

  • Focus on outlines in the order of easiest to complete (less material covered, more understandable, already have part of it completed) through hardest to complete.
  • Get started.  Waiting until you understand it all or until you have the non-existent free weekend will not help matters.
  • Once an outline is caught up, add to it every week. (The material will still be fresh and will take less time to outline.)

Stressor: You have several deadlines that are very close together.

  • Break down each exam course into the smaller sub-topics that you must study.
  • Break down each paper or project into the smaller tasks for completion.
  • Estimate how long it will take you to complete each small sub-topic or task. 
    Total the full amount of time you will need for each exam or paper or project.  Add 20% to your estimates.
  • Take a calendar and allot tasks to each day so that you finish all tasks before the deadline.