Hello Abe,
Even though it’s still really early in the semester I still feel that I’m heaps behind. I’ve got more assignments due than I know how to deal with. I’m starting to feel really stressed and finding my studies are suffering even more – it’s a vicious cycle. Can you give me some ideas that will help me?

Dear Busy,
This is the time of the semester when many students start to feel the pressure of assignments being due. Deal with each of those aspects one step at a time. Talk to your tutor now to see if you can arrange an extension. Talk to someone at Counselling and Psychological Services (Level 5, Jane Foss Russell Building) or the University’s Health Service (Level 3, Wentworth Building).

The Learning Centre runs free courses for time management. This can help you get your uni work under control while still having a social life. Check out their website at: usyd.edu.au/stuserv/learning_centre. Go to Student Resources then Module 10. This is an online resource for you to work through in your own time. It’s all really commonsense stuff but makes a real difference when you follow it.

Look at the CAPS website. Workshops coming up soon are listed at: sydney.edu.au/current_students/counselling/workshops/list-of-workshops/index.shtml You can also make an appointment with a counsellor to get individualised advice or thoughts on specific strategies.

If you’ve done all of these things and still can’t cope with your workload you might like to talk to an SRC caseworker about the possibility of withdrawing from a subject. This may attract an academic penalty, but you can at least check out what your options are. If you are on a Centrelink payment tell your caseworker as this might alter how you reduce your workload.

A final word of caution, when students feel pressured they can sometimes be less vigilant about referencing and proper paraphrasing when they write essays. If you know that you are cutting corners it is best to get help before handing your essays in. Talk to a lecturer, the Learning Centre, counsellor or SRC caseworker and ask for help. This is better than putting in an essay you know is not up to your usual standard and then being found guilty of plagiarism.

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