“Occasionally I end up setting aside one full day where I just lock myself
in my room with some food and grind through it.”
— Jeremy, a straight-A student from Dartmouth
Sometimes it Piles
The Straight-A Method preaches that you should know all of your upcoming obligations and have control over the hours in your day. Combined, these tactics help keep your schedule manageable. But college has a hidden evil streak. Sometimes the Due Date Gods collude to ensure you enter a period of extreme busyness.
When this happens, there is no avoiding the dreaded hard day. Sometimes relaxation and balance has to take a backseat to simply grinding through that work that just absolutely has to get done. (Though, hopefully, even this grinding is being done in focused chunks with sufficient breaks, good food, and in silent, isolated locations on campus.)
How do we best handle these occasional unavoidable pushes? Control them…
The Choice is Yours
When you spy a confluence of due dates lurking on the horizon, plan your hard day(s) in advance. Make sure they aren’t consecutive. If possible, place them near something exciting or relaxing (e.g., the day before a big party, or the day after a long-planned ski trip). Tell everyone you know about your schedule.
The advantages are as follows:
- By planning the day instead of being forced into it, you feel more energized and in control as oppose to tired and abused.
- Your advanced planning allows you to spread out the hard days in such a way that minimizes their impact.
- By telling your friends, you’re more committed to actually following through with the planned work.
- Once you’ve placed that day on your schedule, you experience stress relief from the knowledge that your workload is about to face a major reduction.
A Tactic of Last Resort
I should make it clear: the best strategy for hard days is to avoid them all together. But when even your most conscientious scheduling fails to keep up with the load, a strategically planned grind fest can make a big difference with a minimal impact on your stress levels.