Thanksgiving Break provides a tantalizing teaser to the joys of home: days full of family, naps, television, and home-cooked meals become the reality. But losing motivation during the final weeks of the semester can have a disastrous effect on grades and participation.
The question is: how do you retain the momentum to keep up when your brain is halfway to winter break already? Here are a few tips to help keep you on track.
1) Schedule it
It might seem like overkill, but scheduling out major moments of your day is essential to keeping on top of the important things. Create a schedule that works for you. It might be a daily schedule labeled by hour, or it might be weekly map of days things must be accomplished. The important thing is that it works for you.
- Check things off when you complete them. The satisfaction of seeing things disappear from your to-do list can motivate you to complete more tasks.
- Note everything that is important, not simply due dates. For example, if you’ve blocked out half an hour for study time with friends, write that down as well. This way, you have a graphic example of what you need to complete, which can make it easier to conceptualize the time you have to spend.
- Put the schedule somewhere you will see it. There is no use to a schedule if it is hidden in the bottom of your bag. Put it on your wall, in a book you read, or on your desk for easy access.
2) Take time for yourself
While you have many things to complete in the next three weeks, it will be impossible to complete them without a healthy mind and body. Stress can pile up to a disastrous degree during finals week, leaving students paralyzed by worry and more likely to procrastinate tasks. Head this off by taking care of your body in ways that destress.
- Find out your “5 Minute De-Stress Strategy” and utilize it when life gets complicated. It might be looking at kitten videos on YouTube during a homework break, grabbing a piece of dark chocolate to savor, or going for a short walk around the block. This five minutes can help you relax, refocus, and remember that there is life outside of finals. One caveat: make sure your breaks are for ONLY five minutes, or you might get sucked into a procrastination whirlpool. Set a timer if you need it!
- End the night with at least thirty minutes disconnected from studying and electronics. Give your brain time to relax before sleep, and let go of the worries of the week. Read a book or magazine if you need something to quiet your brain.
- Take the time to eat right. It is very easy to reach for fast food and junk food during the craziness of finals week, but healthier options will fuel you for longer and keep your brain active as well. Avoid energy drinks, which often contain high amounts of sugar and have been linked to heart issues. Instead, sip tea for a caffeine boost. Smart late-night snacks can also help fuel studying. Look for protein-rich foods like nuts, meat, and dairy products to keep your brain going strong. Popular snacks include almonds, trail mix (without all the sugary candy), and lunch meat roll ups with mustard.
3) Stay present
It is easy to look forward to breaks and attempt to speed through the present. However, it is important to value the moments spent in college. Time spent studying with friends is one of the most memorable experiences in college. Break is wonderful, but it’s important to stay present in the moment and realize the value of being able to pursue what you love at college.
- Take a moment each day to breath. Remember why you are doing what you’re doing.
- Laugh off the stress. Everyone on campus is worried and harried at this time of year, but in the big scheme of things, the stress we face is not life-threatening. Though it sometimes does not seem possible, you will survive these next three weeks and go on to have a wonderful break. Take a moment to laugh at yourself, look for the happy things, and continue on.
The staff at MediaOCU wishes you three more weeks at OCU filled with friends, laughter, and success.