You knew it would be hard work to start on your learning journey, and you told yourself that you would spend every afternoon practising and studying your material. But life doesn’t follow a plan and living abroad as an international student is exciting. Sometimes you would much rather go sightseeing or spend time with your new friends over reciting new grammar phrases, so study and school begins taking a backseat in your life.
But it can’t last forever. Every few weeks a new exam comes by and you see your grades start to dip. At first it’s not so bad, but after a couple of tests, you find yourself “pulling all-nighters” as Australians say, just to barely pass. Suddenly you’re so stressed out, and you begin to feel like you’re stuck on an impossibly large mountain of schoolwork, with no idea how to get out.
So what should you do if you do if you’re falling behind?
Take a Walk/Run
Quite often when we feel like we’re falling behind, we can be discouraged to start the process for catching up. The thought of how long the work will take to complete scares you, and you end up procrastinating. “Why should I go out and have a run when I have so much I need to do!?” I hear you say. While it may seem counterintuitive, going out and doing some light exercise like walking or running, can help you get rid of your stress and bad energy, making it easier for you to start on your work when you get back. Just be careful not to use this as an excuse to procrastinate even more.
Talk to People in Your Support Circle
Many people feel alone in situations like this and feel like nobody can help. Don’t worry, we’ve all been here at one point or another. That’s why letting your network of friends, family and teachers know what’s happening is so important. Your friends in your class can create group study sessions helping you catch up and your family can give you the time you need to catch up at home by helping to reduce your chores, and cooking for you. Even if your family and friends are overseas, homesickness is a major source of stress for many international students and speaking to somebody from home can really reduce your overall anxiety. Most importantly, speak to your teacher about where you’re at in the classes. By doing so, and asking for help from them, they can give you the added scholarly help you need. The people around you can be a major source of motivation for you to tackle your assessments and get you back on track.
Create a Catch-Up Plan
Sometimes your work can look like one big angry mess of a million things when you’re falling behind. But it doesn’t need to be. Make a list of all the things that need to be done and break up larger projects into smaller tasks. Then schedule these tasks into your calendar while being realistic about the amount of time you’ll need to complete each task. Utilise weekends, and wake up early if you need to. Every time you cross off a small goal, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and will be encouraged to keep going.
Realise You Don’t Need to be Perfect
We place so much pressure on trying to be the perfect person 24/7. But it’s important to remember that nobody is 100% perfect. If you’re doing your best then that is all that matters.