School takes a lot of work. You need to attend classes, do your homework and study for tests on top of your job and family responsibilities. If you're feeling overwhelmed, you're not alone.
Most people wind up falling behind on their classwork at some point during their academic careers. If you're behind on your homework or studying, don't give up. What matters isn't whether you slipped up in the past. It's how you recover for the future. Here's how to catch up when you're behind in school.
Be Honest About Your Situation
Before you can start fixing anything, you need to understand what needs to be fixed. No matter how many student tips you learn, avoiding your problems will only make them worse.
Take an hour to go through all of your current courses and figure out four things:
Your current grades in every class
Any deadlines you've already missed
Policies for turning in late work
Any deadlines that are coming up in the next month
Once you know what you've already missed and where you're struggling most, you know what you need to prioritize. You may even realize you're not as behind as you thought.
Make a Plan
Once you know how you're doing, you can make a study plan. Your plan needs two parts – a priority list and a schedule.
Your priority list is the order in which you'll work on projects. For example, suppose you have a project that's worth 25% of your grade due next week. It's probably more important than a single worksheet that's already overdue. Figure out which projects are most important and work on them first.
Your schedule is a promise to yourself about when you'll work on things. Put all of your deadlines on a calendar. Look for any weeks with a lot of deadlines and weeks where you don't have anything due. Slow weeks are the perfect time to get caught up or even get ahead on your work.
Stay Organized in the Future
The best way to avoid falling behind is to be organized from the beginning. Here are three study tips to stay on top of your classwork:
Commit to studying time every day. Even if your schedule is different every day, find an hour where you'll work on homework. You may not need the full hour every day, but sit down at that time anyway just to build the habit.
Plan ahead. Many school projects can't be done in a day. When you learn about an assignment, decide how much time you'll need and plan when you'll work on it. If you can finish it early, you don't have to worry about being late.
Use a planner that works for you. Some people love paper planners, and other people like phone or digital calendars. Find a planner that makes sense to you and use it every day.
Never Give Up
School is hard, there's no doubt about that. You can get through it, though. If you're behind, figure out what you actually need to get done, prioritize your projects then make a plan and stick with it.
Once you're on top of your work again, you can stay on track using the same type of plan. You have what it takes to get your degree.