Midterms can be a stressful time for anyone, but this can be especially true for Foundation Year students at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to taking ESL and college preparatory classes, these pre-matriculated students are also applying for several universities during the fall semester.
Balancing priorities inside and outside of the classroom is a challenge that many students face, but it can be especially challenging for international students adapting to a new environment. Here are the top five Foundation Year tips for balancing a many responsibilities with conflicting priorities:
1) Make a schedule. The Sanger Learning Center offers tools and workshops to help students visually map out their day from 8 am to 11 pm. When you’re looking at a schedule from 8 am to 5 pm, it can feel like there is no time to study outside of class, but if you look at the full day and weekends, it’s amazing where you will find time that you didn’t realize that you had.
2) It’s a sprint, not a marathon. The Student Employee Excellence Development program offers classes on creating SMART goals. Are you applying to schools or for jobs after college? Make a three month plan and stick to it. It’s easier to work towards your goals if they are measurable and have an end date. This will prevent burnout and help you work harder in the moment. If you feel extremely stressed out with no end in sight, this might be a good time to reconsider your lifestyle and see if it’s time to make a change.
3) Visualize success. The MindBody Lab at CMHC offers guided exercises. Studies show that people who imagine themselves succeeding are more likely to succeed in real life. Take deep breathes before a big test, like the SAT or GRE, and imagine yourself feeling comfortable, confident and completing the exam in plenty of time.
4) Reward your successes. This could be as simple as watching a funny video for five minutes for every 25 minutes that you study or treating yourself to a movie you’ve been hoping to see after a big exam. Allowing yourself breaks can help you feel more energized and prepared for your next big event.
5) Be kind to yourself. Improvement can take time and it’s hard not to compare yourself to your friends who may seem to succeed without trying. Ambitious students tend to have high expectations for themselves, which can lead to great success but also frustration if you are not successful on your first or even second attempt. Shift your attitude to allow failure to provide motivation to find a better study system, or refocus your goals.