The fall semester is well underway, but you’ve still got plenty of time to make stress management a priority. By planning ahead, managing your bank account, and following a few other best practices, you’ll reduce your school-related anxiety and have a much easier time focusing on your studies.

Stay Organized and Stay Ahead

Falling behind on deadlines has a snowball effect in terms of stress. Catching up on late work gives you less time to get ahead on your next assignment. If you’re behind on deadlines, you may not have any time to polish your assignments and deliver the best work possible.
This is a hard cycle to break, so try to stay on top of your schedule this semester. Treat your time like your money: Budget it carefully, and aim to strike a healthy balance between treating yourself, taking breaks and socializing, and committing to your work as a student.

Manage Your College Expenses

College is expensive, and financial woes on top of a loaded semester can make it even harder to stay focused on class work and to stay positive. Follow these tips to get a handle on your school expenses and keep your academic goals a priority:

Rent or buy discounted textbooks: Textbooks will leave a major dent in your semester budget. You can cut these costs by up to 90 percent if you shop around for new and used options outside of the campus bookstore. Renting is another option. You can also sell your books when you’re finished with them to get some of your money back.

Revisit your meal plan: Use your meal plan if you have one. If you prefer to cook on your own, consider dropping the meal plan to minimize your expenses.

Tap into all sources for financial aid:
The FAFSA will connect you with free grants and other types of federal financial aid to cover your academic costs. Check with your school’s financial aid department to see if any institutional grants, loans, or work-study programs are available to help you balance your checkbook this semester.

Look at all your housing options: Moving back home for the semester or moving off campus with a few roommates can greatly reduce your monthly expenses.

Break Things Down and Keep a Positive Outlook

Be deliberate and make stress management a goal this semester. No matter how tough the semester gets, remember to keep things in perspective. These few months are just a slice of your life as a student, and if you take things day by day or even hour by hour, you absolutely will succeed.

If you’re struggling with classwork or feeling negative, reach out to other students who have prioritized their courses and their personal well-being. Forming a study group can help you get through tough subjects, and surrounding yourself with positive people will melt away your stress.

If you find yourself feeling anxious this semester, take a breath and remember that you can do it! Create a schedule and stick to it, keep on top of your personal finances, and keep a positive outlook. Before you know it, you’ll have another successful semester behind you.

Creating the perfect class schedule is a real balancing act. We all learn differently and have our own strengths and weaknesses, so a one-size-fits-all approach never works. So how do you do it? Consider our tips when creating your perfect class schedule.

Take the Right Classes
While your schedule’s timing matters, your course content is crucial. Identify any prerequisite classes for earning your degree and consider where you’ll place them first. You should also note any prerequisite classes for courses you’ll take in future. Prioritize these classes, too. Completing prerequisite courses within your first year or two of college works best, as it opens more opportunities for upper division classes as you approach graduation. It also reduces the chances you will overlook a course required for your degree.

Most prerequisite classes run at different times, so consider which work best for you. Then, build around them. While taking some courses simply because they interest you is fine, make sure you’re also scheduling the courses most relevant to your intended career.

Don’t Overburden Yourself

It’s easy to overburden yourself, especially when you’re a new student excited about the semester ahead. However, taking on too many classes is a recipe for burnout. College blogger Jessica Slaughter suggests taking no more than 16 hours per week. You might take even less if your courses are especially challenging. Use your judgment to avoid overtaxing yourself.

Take Advantage of Times You Work Best

Some of us love early mornings while others are night owls who prefer sleeping until noon. Think about when you’re most alert and schedule your most important or challenging classes for these times. If you don’t have a natural math brain and loathe mornings, an early statistics class will seem like torture. But take it in the evenings and you might just ace those tricky tests.

Schedule Breaks If You Need Them
Some students thrive on a busy schedule, while others feel burned out by back-to-back classes. What kind of personality do you have? Consider what feels more comfortable for you and craft your schedule accordingly, with as many breaks as you need to do your best.

Arrange a Consistent Routine
While our individual behaviors differ, we’re all creatures of habit. Studies show the world’s happiest and most successful people stick to a regular, fairly rigid routine. Remembering this, you should aim to give each day of your week a similar structure.

Starting classes and leaving campus at roughly the same time each day will let you establish a regular sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time each night is proven to improve your concentration, memory, and energy levels. While those benefits will help you in the classroom, you’ll also appreciate the impact your consistent sleep schedule has on your health.

Your class schedule has a significant effect on how much you get out of your semester, so it’s crucial you get it right. Consider your own individual goals, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to create the perfect class schedule for you.