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How to Overcome Academic Roadblocks

Strategies on how to deal with academic roadblocks and succeed in an increasingly busy academic environment

Audrey Campbell
Audrey Campbell

On the road to academic success, there are bound to be some bumps and roadblocks that many high school and college students encounter. Understanding these challenges and developing strategies early on regarding how to overcome them can be key to students' physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Here are six ways to tackle these obstacles and prepare for the ups and downs of the academic journey.

Secondary Education

The Time is Now: Students in secondary education are often amazed to discover how many distinct differences exist in the transition between middle and high school. Often, the first roadblock students encounter is the challenge of managing their time efficiently as sports, clubs, and time with friends takes hours away from homework assignments. College Board offers 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time in order to craft an efficient schedule that allows room for work and play throughout high school and beyond.

Catching Zzzs: According to The Sleep Doctor, Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., teenagers need 8-10 hours of nightly sleep in order to function to their fullest potential. High school students often sleep far less than that which ultimately affects their academic and physical performance. Teens and parents should work to establish a sleep schedule that is consistent and eliminates the use of technology right before bedtime, as cell phones and computers can interfere with a teen's natural cycle.

Ross, Rachel, Monica, and Chandler: Friends are essential in overcoming roadblocks during the stressful times of high school. They can offer positive emotional support, provide constructive feedback, and inspire confidence even during the darkest hours. Peers can influence academic success in both positive and negative ways, so students should surround themselves with friends who build them up, lead by example, and share common goals or values in meaningful ways.

Higher Education

All the Feels: For many, heading to university is the first time they will live independently away from their childhood home, which means some roadblocks that affect student academic performance are not specifically associated or centered on class time. Emotional and mental hurdles are just as serious and influential as the obstacles faced in the classroom. The Spruce blogs about seven challenges outside of coursework that first-year college students may face, including loneliness or catching illnesses that are spread around dorms. These emotional and physical challenges can influence how a student moves through the semester and ultimately affect their academic success.

Footing the Bill: One major roadblock university students face is spending money wisely while in college. Courses, textbooks, and materials are expensive, but essential components of the college experience. Mapping Your Future is a nonprofit organization that provides students and families a plethora of resources to help them successfully navigate higher education and certain student loan processes. Students and families should consider financial aid and on-campus job options prior to school, then make a deliberate financial plan before the semester begins to prepare for any roadblocks that might occur during the year.

Professor McGonagall Still Has Magic up her Sleeve: Throughout their university experience, students should remember that professors are often their best resources and greatest allies. Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, professor, and renowned author, strongly believes that building relationships with instructors can often help students overcome academic roadblocks. Asking for help, taking advantage of office hours, and reviewing syllabi carefully are all helpful actions to take when starting a class or facing a difficult situation.

Secondary and higher education offers students an incredible opportunity to learn and grow. With the right mindset and tools, academic roadblocks can be the chance for students to get stronger and develop a deeper sense of self.

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