While breaks are perfect for relaxing and refueling for the remainder of the semester, coming back from vacation can leave students in a slump. We all wish we could sleep in until noon and avoid studying for more than a week, but there’s only six weeks left (five if you don’t count finals), and with the proper mindset you can finish the semester strong. Whether you’ve grown accustomed to binge-watching all day or partying all night, MOVE has a few tips to help you transition back to classwork.
First off, unpack. Maybe you’re tearing up a little at the idea of opening the bags lying on your floor and putting their contents back in their proper places, the way you didn’t after winter break until at least St. Patrick’s Day. However, clutter will just distract you and keep your space from being comfortable. Not only will unpacking be productive, but it will also make sure you don’t clean your room as a procrastination technique later on in the semester. It also gives you a chance to switch out any of your winter clothes you don’t need, though really, it’s Columbia, so who knows?
Hopefully unpacking doesn’t sound too daunting but classwork might. That’s why proper to-do lists will be your best friend while transitioning back. Being able to see everything you have to do and when you have to do it helps to protect you from the overwhelming feeling of trying to keep deadlines straight when they’re floating around in your head. My suggestion for anyone looking to set up some to-do lists is the app Wunderlist. It is simple to use, but thorough enough to have folders, subtasks and note sections for your to-dos. At the beginning of a week, I set up a list for what is due each day. Some people I know prefer to make lists for each subject individually and put the due dates next to each specific task. It’s totally up to you. The best part? It syncs between your computer and phone, so you’ll never be without your lists.
Once you need to actually hold yourself accountable for those to-dos, finding a way to self-motivate is key. A great system is to find a reward you can give yourself whenever you finish the work for the day. If you’re watching a TV series or playing a video game, try avoiding it until you get your work done. Knowing you can’t watch that next episode of “House of Cards” until your tasks are complete might be exactly what you need to get them done. I like to use MizzouRec as a motivational tool — if you’re someone who often works out in the evenings, try to get your work done before you go the Rec. Since it closes at 11 p.m. on most days, you have a deadline to motivate you. This really works for me because the idea of only having to shower and relax after hitting the gym sounds perfect.
Something you should keep in mind, however, is to avoid going cold turkey spring break hobbies. Like a diet with no cheat days, if you avoid Netflix entirely or refuse to party at all, you’ll eventually break down. While you certainly shouldn’t be ignoring your work, don’t tell yourself to stay in and study on the weekends when you’re stressed. It’s OK to go partying or stay up late watching movies; it’s just not OK when you do that all week during times when you have work to get done. Find a balance of work time and play time that keeps both your GPA and your soul happy.
Finally, stay focused on your goal to finish the semester strong. If the best way to do that is to keep a countdown calendar till summer, you do you. I love using the Chrome extension Momentum because, in addition to being pretty and useful, it has a space to put in your main focus for the day. Whenever I go to the internet, there’s a reminder of what I want to accomplish. Try to make whatever keeps you concentrated on finishing the semester with success part of your daily life.
Edited by Katherine Rosso | firstname.lastname@example.org