One of the first pieces of advice you will hear entering graduate school is DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.
Knowing myself having been a chronic procrastinator my entire life, hearing this made me anxious and uneasy, wondering if I had what it takes to be successful in grad school. While this advice is extremely valid and valuable, sometimes life just happens and you may find yourself in a position where you’re behind and while it may seem like it at the time, it does not mean the end of the world.
Tips on how to catch up on coursework and break procrastination habits.
- Ask for help! - In times of stress, a good support system goes a long way. There are so many resources that helped me get through my first quarter of optometry school that facilitated my success the rest of the school year. So, I highly recommend going to after hours, setting up tutoring early if you know you might struggle in a class or reaching out directly to your professor for help.
- Stay organized - Procrastination becomes a problem when catching up feels too overwhelming and causes excessive amounts of stress. To try to prevent this, knowing everything that needs to be done, laid out in front of you, is helpful to prevent getting too behind as well as gives a starting point for when it is time to buckle up and get stuff done.
- Know your boundaries - It is helpful to know what you are capable of or what you might need extra time or help on. Some subjects may come easier than others and being realistic with what your strengths or weaknesses are will help you prepare for assignments or exams that might feel more difficult.
- Prioritize a healthy school-life balance - Yes, you can and should have fun during optometry school. While this program is difficult, preventing burn out and being confident in yourself will go a long way in building your resilience to stress as well as preventing falling behind in school.
- Take things one at a time and don’t panic - At times, it might feel like the course load keeps piling on with no end however, you don’t need to do everything all at once. The only thing you can do is your best at that time. So whether that means to step back and make a list, reach out for help, take some self care time, or simply get started, a good reminder is to take things one at a time and know that you can do it.