5 Ways to Stay on Task During the School Week


When students come to college for the first time, many of them experience a newfound feeling of freedom. With fewer classes per day than in high school and little parental control for those living away from home, students can get caught up in their own worlds and lose focus on their academic responsibilities. This feeling can linger into later semesters, as some students try to cling to it as long as they can. There is hope, however. Below are five tips to help students maintain focus on academics during the school week.

1. Plan Your Week in Advance.

Whether it is with a planner, a desk calendar, a digital calendar or spreadsheet or just a piece of paper, having some way of organizing assignments and appointments is essential for staying on track. Outlining a plan relieves the stress of having multiple obligations, and checking off assignments can be both satisfying and motivating. Planners are available at the campus bookstore, located in Mueller Leadership Hall.



2. Do Schoolwork at the Library. 

On-campus housing can foster communication between peers and promote interpersonal growth for students, but these environments are not always ideal study spaces. The noise of TV’s, stereos, snoring, talking and yelling can make reading, writing or studying nearly impossible at times.

However, there are several quiet areas and group study locations at Reeves Library and the Hazel Wing designed to accommodate studying. The library has quiet areas between bookshelves and a secluded basement alcove, and both buildings have multiple individual study rooms. In addition, the library contains two computer labs, several printers, a writing lab, a math lab and hundreds of reference books.


Tables between bookshelves on the library’s fourth floor are isolated from almost all noise on campus. PHOTO BY STEFANIE EGGLESTON.

3. Eat Healthily.

Like they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, an apple a day can also get you an A. A balanced diet is the best way to keep your energy while dealing with the stress of the school week. Processed foods will only slow you down and hinder your energy levels. Fresh fruits and vegetables and nutritious meats will help keep you focused during your long study sessions.

According to Darany Hoang, a college health director and nutrition specialist, our brains shut down when they do not receive proper nutrition. Hoang says that students should consume three servings of dairy and a total of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, along with plenty of whole grains and lean proteins. She also recommends avoiding foods that are high in sugar and sodium.


Students can find fresh vegetables at Backer Dining Hall. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.

4. Go to Class, and Arrive On Time.

The benefits of going to class versus not going to class are completely one-sided. Attending class can help students clarify confusion on homework assignments and prepare for upcoming assessments, earn them participation points and show their professors that they care about the course. Skipping class, on the other hand, can cause students to fall behind with class material, lower their attendance grades and inhibit classmates’ learning by not being not being present. Similarly, many professors detract points for arriving late, which is also distracting for those are on time.


5. Get Enough Sleep.

According to researchers at the University of Georgia’s University Health Center, most adults need between six and 10 hours of sleep each night. And, because sleep helps restore energy, students should get more sleep the more stressed they are. In addition, sleep also rejuvenates the immune system, making it harder to become sick and easier to attend class.

Finding time for sleep can be difficult for college students, but following the previous four tips should give you more time for some shut eye.  Also, consider taking naps, rather than playing video games or going through your Facebook news feed, when you are unable to focus on schoolwork.

Although studying is certainly important for academic success, sleeping may be just as crucial, as it restores the immune system, replenishes energy and focus and relieves stress. PHOTO BY PAIGE TOWNSEND.

Although studying is certainly important for academic success, sleeping may be just as crucial, as it restores the immune system, replenishes energy and focus and relieves stress. PHOTO BY PAIGE TOWNSEND.

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