The holiday season can be a difficult time to stay on top of our responsibilities. Maybe you wanna go ice skating, but instead, you’re stuck writing an essay or studying for a final that determines half of your grade. The fall semester is all about getting back into the groove of university life, and it turns out the near-ending can be harder than the beginning. I’ve no doubt had moments where I felt like I lost all of my leftover energy and wanted to nap for the next 1000 years. But as a senior, I’ve done this more than once, so I know how to get up, roll my shoulders, and keep moving forward. Here’s what I’ve been doing, and know that you can do it too if you wish!
Get Into The Christmas Spirit
It can’t be gloom and doom and overdue assignments all the time. It’s easy to dwell in my negative attitude as the fall semester races toward a close, but this only serves to make me more miserable and unmotivated to do what I have to do. Luckily, Christmas is all around me – even in November (Thanksgiving is like the middle child of end-of-year holidays).
My little town in Westchester has already been decorated according to the Christmas season. I can see houses aglow with red-and-green and yellow lights. And we can’t forget about those seasonal drinks at Starbucks (I highly recommend the eggnog latte.) If I feel tension running throughout my body and know it’s time to relax rather than continue stressing about schoolwork, that means it’s time to quickly tune in to the Home Alone re-runs on television.
I’ve always been someone who loves Christmas. The fall semester can’t change that. It can be a sprightly and joyful time, and also an excuse for me to re-watch Netflix Christmas movies. It’s also a time of the year that makes me want to truly appreciate those around me and show gratitude.
Go To The Library
The problem with working at home during the fall semester (any semester, really) is that I cannot focus there. There are too many distractions begging for my attention. I don’t know about any of you, but to study and complete my work, I need to be in an environment where I can be calm and focused on the task ahead. This may seem obvious, but where we decide to do our work plays a big role in how productive we are. Think of it this way: how much luck would you have finishing your comparative analysis at a bar in Brooklyn?
The library is a great place for me to go because it’s always quiet, and there are fewer distractions around me. Most of the people there are also trying to get some work done this fall semester, so that can be a gigantic motivator, being surrounded by people with similar goals to yourself.
Go To Bed At A Reasonable Time
This is an important one. It’s an unwritten rule that the only way to survive finals and the end of the fall semester is to pull grisly and mind-numbing all-nighters. This can be necessary for certain circumstances, but it’s not good for our health if we pull all-nighters regularly. We’re throwing our sleep cycle off balance, and we’ll only be more tired the next day. While it obviously varies for every person, I find all-nighters more stress-inducing because I’m inserting all my energy into staying awake, and what little energy I have left isn’t enough to do my fall semester assignments.
The bottom line is it’s not the best idea to be staying up at 2 AM every day, whether it’s because we’re doing work or watching Vine compilations for the billionth time (guilty of both). Studies have shown sleeping earlier and getting more hours of sleep improves our brainpower, our mood, and concentration throughout the day. I know college is hard, but we shouldn’t glorify wearing ourselves so thin that we’re proud we got 4 hours of sleep instead of 3. If you want to do the best with your course load, it’s recommended you take care of your mind and body, and sleeping at a reasonable time is the best way to do that.
Get A Planner
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the fall semester. We all probably have way too much to do. That’s why I use my planner to organize my days, including when I’m going to work on a specific assignment. Creating a fixed and realistic schedule can go a long way lifting a heavy weight off your shoulders. The truth is sometimes there’s so much on our plate it seems impossible to accomplish all we need, but it’s not. We just need to know there is a time and place for everything. Using my planner has really helped me stay more on top of all my responsibilities, and realizing they’re all bearable. The trick is you feel more in control of your life at a time where you may feel very out of control.
Letting Go Of Perfection
Part of my issue has always been my perfectionist tendencies. If I can’t do something perfectly (especially right away), then I don’t want to do it. We are our own worst critics, after all. This played a significant role in my procrastination: I didn’t want to do what I had to because I knew I would be critiquing myself the whole time and that it wouldn’t live up to my impossible and unrealistic standards. While we should strive for greatness with most of what we do, this can hinder us when it’s just time to get something done. We have to remember we are often good enough, and there is freedom in relinquishing this idea that we’re going to be flawless at everything we do. This especially applies to school. By the time the fall semester is nearing its end, I know that not everything I need to do is going to be pristine – but I can accept that now, as long as I know I’m trying my best.
This semester has been kicking all of our asses. But it’s almost over. So crack your knuckles, stretch, and get ready to kick its ass back.
Featured Image Source: http://www. reddit.com/r/notebooks/comments/bgj59n/my_type_of_aesthetic/
Sarah is an English and Communications major at Pace University, Pleasantville. She enjoys writing fiction, watching horror movies, and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack loudly enough that she annoys people on public transportation.