7 Ways to Cruise Into Summer
We’ve all been there before. In fact, we might be there right now: laid-up sun-sick with spring fever, staring down the barrel of the last semester before (a chorus of angels sighs) Summer Break. Capital S, capital B, a place unto itself that we’re all running toward while March and April crawl. Our heads are swimming with plans for beach-bumming and sleeping in, but there is still all of this work to do. How do we get there?
We talked about this in February. We talked about staying organized, keeping up with reading, communicating needs to professors – and all of these things still apply – but it’s a little different now. It’s harder to focus when everything is preparing to bloom around you and all you’re getting ready for is your next exam.
Take heart, Collegiate One. You’re not alone, and there are ways to beat the mid-semester slump.
No brainer? Sure, but it needs to be said. No matter how sunny it looks outside, no matter how warm the evenings have grown, no matter how hard it is raining –DON’T START SKIPPING CLASSES NOW. Be there. You’re paying for the privilege of attending these classes, and there aren’t that many left. Don’t ditch out on your investment.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed toward the end of any semester. Make lists of tasks, and if you need to, break down each task into its own sub-list.Don’t just write down “Paper for POLS 2950.” Create a checklist for getting it done: gather six sources, write annotated bibliography, solidify thesis, rough draft, final paper. As you cross out each item, you’ll replace academic anxiety with a sense of progress that will propel you toward that free and easy summer.
If you do something enough times, they say it becomes a habit. Hopefully you’ve already fallen into a regular studying rhythm (it is March, after all), but it’s never too late to start if you haven’t found your pace. You’ll find it easier to concentrate if there’s some regularity to when and where you study. Find the place that works for you – the library, your bedroom, a coffee shop, it doesn’t matter – and carve out time in your schedule that you can devote exclusively to studying.
If you’re struggling with staying on task, ask someone to help you out. Pick a person to be accountable to, whether that person is a friend, a parent, or a mentor. Whoever you choose, ask them to be the person you check in with on your progress, then follow through. Talk with them about why you need this, and make sure they know how important this is for you.
Imagine that your whole body is a vehicle. It has all these parts that need to work in sync with one another to keep moving, and it has to have fuel. Much as you would not pour sugar in your Elantra’s gas tank and expect it to run, you can’t fill your body with junk either. Caffeinated drinks, sugary snacks, and carbohydrates might give you a boost, but the inevitable crash off of them is counterproductive and will slow you down. You’re in for the long haul, so reach for a bottle of water and a protein-rich snack instead. And sleep when you need to sleep. Pulling an all-nighter to study is less effective than a good night’s rest.
Believe it or not, you are neither the first nor the only college student to feel done with it before the semester is done with you. Amy Comparon, the director of the Academic Resource Center at Governors State University, shared this: “There are a lot of things we offer to students, even as we’re winding down the semester. Talk with your advisor or come to us, and we can help keep you going. We offer counseling, learning strategies, Save My Semester Workshops – we see what you’re struggling with and form a game plan.” Every school provides services to assist students, so contact your advisor to locate that resource on your campus.
Last, and simply, just keep looking ahead. Mark the day of your last class or exam on the calendar, and know that you’re almost there. Remember that every step you take is carrying you that much closer to the finish line. Let that motivate you. The semester will end and summer will come; that’s a promise. It’s just a matter of how you want to get there.