How I Handled My Deadlines and Survived Essay Season

Thursday, November 28, 2019

You've probably noticed that I've been absent on here over the past few weeks, and that's because I've been drowning in work. Despite my university saying that they make a conscious effort to spread deadlines apart, I ended up with three essays due within 10 days of each other, and let's just say that stressed is an understatement! Trying to juggle the different essays was difficult enough, but I also had other lectures and seminars to attend with reading for each of these, my part-time job and other commitments, so I genuinely felt as though I didn't have a minute spare. Now that they're finally over and I don't have any more work due until January, I thought I'd share my tips for surviving essay season and coping with deadlines, so make sure you keep reading to hear how I did it!

Make a huge to-do list to organise your mind
When you're juggling different tasks you can easily start to get confused, and the last thing you want is to get the deadline dates mixed up so you hand in the wrong essay, or write an essay with the wrong word count. I like to make a note of all of these important details on a sticky note to make sure that I'm not going to forget them and keep it somewhere where I'll always see it. Then, I usually make a huge to-do list of everything I need to do for each essay (rather than simply saying 'write essay', I will break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks). This makes it clear exactly what I need to do and helps to ensure that nothing is forgotten, plus it's super satisfying ticking something off after a long day of work. 

Plan your time and make a schedule
If you're like me and have a lot of other commitments outside of school or university, then it's important to plan ahead and account for this. For example, I have work every Friday and Saturday, so I knew that any essays due on a Monday had to be done before this, as otherwise I would only have Sunday to do it all and that would be a very last-minute panic. It's also important to have a chill and spend some time with your family and friends, and by planning your time it is a lot easier to see when you can do so.

Don't just focus on one task
Although it can be tempting to focus solely on one task until it's perfect, you then run the risk of not leaving enough time for your other tasks and therefore they will be more rushed and haphazard. As difficult as it may be, juggling the various essays and working on them simultaneously will help to ensure that they are all done and are good quality, plus it'll hopefully prevent any all-night study sessions in a desperate attempt to finish.

Speak to teachers and utilise office hours
This is something that I was quite reluctant to do last year, since it can seem quite daunting speaking to an academic and sharing an essay idea on a subject that they are an expert in. However, this year I have realised just how much it helps, as talking through your thesis and debating aspects of your essay plan will really help to refine your ideas and perhaps open up new possibilities that you hadn't previously considered. Their job is to help, so I'd definitely utilise their knowledge and get advice wherever you can.

Remember to take care of yourself
Just because you're in an intense period doesn't mean that you should neglect self-care. Whilst I had my essay season, I made a conscious effort to eat a healthy and balanced diet, as constantly reaching for junk food over and over again will make you feel worse both inside and out. I also tried my hardest to sleep well and tried to be asleep before midnight when possible, as although it can be tempting to stay up all night trying to fit in extra work, you simply won't be as productive when you're tired, or it'll hinder how much you get done the next day.

Treat yourself at the end of it
Once all of the work is finally done, you deserve to reward yourself! Whether that's by going out for celebratory cocktails or buying that handbag you've had your eyes on, you deserve to de-stress and treat yourself.

What are your secrets to surviving essay seasons? Let me know down in the comments!

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