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How to Catch Up On School Work When You Fall Unexpectedly Behind

19 October 2020

The day before the first week of university began, disaster struck. I got a concussion and had to miss almost to two weeks of classes. While I had told myself that this year I would be a model student, who always did her work on time I started off the school year behind.

The important thing to do when you are behind on classes is that you do not panic. There is no point of stressing yourself out over things that you cannot control. When I was able to finally do more than just lie on my bed in the dark and listen to podcasts I knew I had to be smart if I wanted to catch up.

Make a plan

The most important thing to do when you fall behind is to make a plan. Write down all the assignments that you still need to accomplish such as readings, lecture recordings, quizzes, lab or seminar prep. Next, you will want to write down beside the activity how much time you estimate it will take.

Then you make a schedule, it is up to you how detailed you want it to be. I usually just write a handful of assignments for one day and then a couple more for the next day making sure the time is decently balanced out over the week or weekend that you are using to catch up. Other people I know schedule it more precisely, with certain times for each task. However, you choose to schedule your work just remember to give yourself an extra hour or so each day. Some tasks might take longer than you think and if you are done early then you can give yourself a chance to relax.

Don’t overdo it

Being behind in school can be very stressful, especially when it is online. You have to make sure you are taking care of your mental health and not taking on more than you can handle. Schedule ‘rest’ days or afternoons for yourself where you aren’t doing any work and are simply enjoying yourself.

If you have too much on your plate don’t be scared to scale back a little bit, maybe ask for fewer hours at your part-time job, or skip that society meeting you were going to attend. Missing one or two small things is not the end of the world especially if it helps give you some peace of mind.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. The university has many resources of people you can reach out to such as your module leaders, your personal tutor, student wellbeing etc. Don’t be scared to use the resources that are available to you. they are there to help you!

Don’t let yourself fall behind again

With that being said it is very easy to want to take a week off after working so hard to catch up. DON’T. After you have caught up on schoolwork you have to make sure you stay on top of make. Make an easy to maintain a schedule that works for you and your goals. I have a whiteboard calendar where I write all my important assignments and check them off when I am done. Find an organizational tool for you and stick to it.

University is all about learning what works best for you and finding out things to do to make you more productive. Don’t be afraid to try something and ditch it if you don’t like it. Just remember to be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can and that is more than enough.