The further behind you fall in your studies, the more seemingly insurmountable your workload becomes, until it feels as if you’re on the verge of losing grip and slipping into the void.
Or, perhaps you prefer to stand with your arms folded as you sink slowly into the quicksand, your indifference a form of silent protest against the injustice of your situation. After all, you would never have been in this position if someone hadn’t been so insolent as to actually give you work.
However you came to be in the situation, some efficient planning and a little discipline can go a long way towards alleviating your plight. Here are a few tips on how to catch up when you’ve fallen behind on your work.
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Don’t fall further behind
The most important thing is to ensure that you don’t end up falling further behind in your efforts to catch up. Attempting to keep track of all the work you have yet to complete may cause you to miss an important tutorial or forget about an assignment, further exacerbating the issue.
Get help from peers
No man or woman left behind, as they say. Chances are there will be a few other students who are in the same situation as you, and who will be more than willing to combine efforts. By forming study groups and sharing resources, you’ll be able to get help in areas they’ve covered and you haven’t, and vice versa.
Seek advice from teachers
Showing that you’re willing to make an effort to catch up will be sure to earn you points with your teacher, regardless of your reasons for allowing yourself to fall behind in the first place.
It may even help convince them to grant you an extension on some of your assignments, thereby alleviating your workload. Though it’s best not to make it too obvious that’s what you’re looking for. Teachers have a way of sniffing out your real motives.
Either way, there are other things they can provide aside from extensions, such as additional resources that can assist your understanding and speed up your progress. Most valuable of all, they can provide advice as to what adjustments you can make to your schedule or your curriculum. Which brings us to the next point.
Drop a class
When the load gets too heavy, sometimes it may be necessary to offload some weight along the way. Ditch some cargo, like a smuggler attempting to outrun the law.
Of course, such a decision shouldn’t be made lightly, and you should seek advice before doing so. But, if there is a certain course that could be deemed expendable, and that you aren’t finding particularly interesting, then it may be best to drop it before it drags down your overall performance.
Make a list of all the work that needs to be completed, adding to it as you receive new assignments. The attention you would have spent trying to remember all the tasks you had to do can be better spent actually completing them.
Prioritize assignments and focus on the more difficult ones first. Your mind will be a more alert and better able to process them. Dedicate a specific period of time, an hour each day, for example, to catching up on the work you’ve missed.
Tackle assignments one at a time rather than spreading your efforts. The sense of achievement that comes with every task you complete will generate momentum and keep up your morale.
Before you know it, you’ll have made significant progress, perhaps even more than you otherwise might have made by this point. In other words, falling behind gave you the motivation to get further ahead, like a football team that plays harder when it’s one goal down.
Of course, that’s not to say that you should make falling behind a way of motivating yourself. That’s a strategy that’s sure to backfire.
Read our guide to TAFE courses in Australia.