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Advice for Students Struggling in College – Balance Academics and Life

Are you struggling with your studies and assignments? Do you frequently look for ‘help with coursework’ service and assistance? Are coursework help online platforms your only rescue in times of distress?

The above may be signs you are struggling in college. It can be a challenging situation and hamper your academic performance. 

Worry not, as we have scientific and psychological tips for you to overcome your struggle. You can improve your focus and concentrate on your curriculum for better grades. 

Set Achievable Goals

College may feel overwhelming to most people. You must study, complete your projects, and write your research papers. Additionally, you attend lectures and seldom have time to relax or chill. Things can seem more overwhelming if you don’t have any goals. You find yourself in front of a sea of notes and books you are yet to complete. 

Therefore, set small and realistic goals. Break them into smaller, achievable tasks you can do one by one. Introduce how to get motivated techniques in your daily life.

For example, you can set the goal to study chapter one of a book. You can progress to the next chapter when you complete your first chapter. 

Such an approach provides you with a sense of accomplishment. You get the motivation and self-esteem to improve your performance. 

Manage Time Effectively

You must learn to manage your time efficiently, whether in college or the office. It is easier to lose track and feel distressed when you always feel you’re short on time. 

Create a schedule to organize your hours and tasks. Consider your day and plan your routine to leave room for leisure and self-care. 

You can rely on methods like the Pomodoro Technique to boost your productivity. It is a time management technique where you:

  • Work on something for 25 minutes
  • Take a short break of 5 minutes afterward

You may take a longer break of 30 minutes after 3 – 4 hours. Try it today and see if you feel any difference!

Try Active Learning Strategies

Passive learning strategies such as memorizing or highlighting are not very effective. In comparison, active learning strategies can help you fare much better. 

Active learning lets you participate in the learning process directly. You can learn better by connecting your knowledge to new ideas, says Angelina Grin, an expert Studybay writer.

Below are a few ways to learn actively:

  • Summarizing a chapter or what you learned
  • Teaching your peers 
  • Participating in group discussions
  • Brainstorming
  • Case studies

The methods above let you engage with your materials to improve understanding and retention. 

Implement Effective Study Techniques

Research proves particular ways of studying provide better outcomes. You can form a better understanding and retain information longer. 

A few evidence-based learning methods are:

Retrieval Practice

Retrieval practice involves recalling information voluntarily in your mind to boost learning. You can pull out your knowledge and examine what you learned. 

The practice strengthens learning and instills information in your memory. The repeated recalling makes you remember it longer. 

Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition encourages you to review your lessons at repeated intervals. You slowly increase the gaps to test how well you retain the information. 

For example, you review what you learned:

  • One day after the class
  • 3 days after the class
  • 7 days after the class
  • 15 days after the class

Spaced repetition allows you to train your brain like working out. 

Elaborative Interrogation

Elaborative interrogation involves asking questions about your lessons. You ask “why” and “how” questions about your materials to boost your understanding. 

Moreover, you can connect new information to what you already know.

Let’s say you read a book on writing a job application essay. It teaches you several ways to improve your application for better employability. 

Elaborative interrogation will mean asking why or how the ways to improve your essay.

 Change Your Environment

The environment around us affects our mood and performance. A cluttered and dirty room with a messy desk will make focusing difficult. 

Tidy your room and clean the clutter. Arrange things neatly on your desk and throw away empty packets and bottles. 

Additionally, find a quiet and peaceful room to study. Let your family or peers know you don’t want to be disturbed.

Moreover, you can try to change your environment. You may try studying in a park or by the lake near your house or campus. 

Manage Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress help you improve your performance. They are necessary elements to navigate challenging situations and assignments.

However, feeling overwhelmed about college can result in chronic stress or anxiety. It can impair your cognitive function and impact your academic performance. 

Therefore, you must learn to manage stress and anxiety. Balance your studies and life, leaving enough room for relaxing and socializing. 

Additionally, you can try many ways to manage stress, such as:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. Do the things you love and spend time with your family. 

It will provide the motivation and inspiration to study better. 

Seek Assistance

You may find it challenging to navigate your studies alone. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are in such a situation. 

Your professors and academic advisors are the right person to approach. You can even ask your classmates for help and study together. 

Forming supportive relationships with your mentors can improve your academic performance. Engaging with classmates also positively impacts your overall well-being.

You may also approach someone in your family to help you with your studies. Some students seek help online and find a mentor to guide them to success. 

Try different support networks and see what works best for you. 

Final Thoughts

Achieving a balance between studies and life is an ongoing process. Review your performance and refine your schedule and activities for the best results. Be patient with yourself and progress in small steps to keep tasting the fruits of success. Most importantly, practice self-care and prioritize your well-being above everything else. Remember to socialize and relax, too. 

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What should a struggling college student do?

Students overwhelmed by college should create small and realistic goals. They should try active learning and try researched-based ways to learn. Some are spaced repetition, group discussions, and retrieval practice. 

What psychological issues do students struggle with?

You can experience several issues, such as anxiety and panic attacks. Some people feel demotivated and lose hope. A few students may suffer from low self-esteem and confidence, resulting in poor performance. 

How can I concentrate better on my studies?

Divide your lessons into smaller chunks. Study one chapter and move to the next one. Take a break after studying for 30 to 60 minutes. Additionally, find a quiet and peaceful place to study. 

How can college students improve retention?

You can improve retention by actively recalling and engaging with your material. Additionally, you can teach others and try hands-on learning. Moreover, stop multitasking and focus on the task at your hand. 

How can I balance college and life?

Identify your priorities in your academic and personal life. Manage your time so that you can focus on both. Additionally, create a routine and learn to say no, and set boundaries. Work to improve communication and take care of yourself. 


  1. Active Learning Strategies. (n.d.).
  2. Brain-based Techniques for Retention of Information | School of Medicine. (n.d.).
  3. Ho, L. (2023). How to Use Spaced Repetition to Remember What You Learn. Lifehack.
  4. I’m Struggling in College. . .  Now What? (n.d.). Rasmussen University.
  5. Retrieval Practice. (n.d.).
  6. Sheldon, R., & Wigmore, I. (2022). Pomodoro Technique.,tomato%20(plural%3A%20pomodori).
  7. TorontoTimes. (2023). What Books To Read To Improve Your Job Application Essay. Toronto Times.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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