Spring break is over and it’s back to the grindstone for the last weeks of the semester. Any energy you regained from your week away has probably been well spent now–and if you’re like me, you’re hoping you won’t run out of steam before May. Today’s post is your personal survival guide to finishing out the year without losing your mind. Though many of us feel alone at times, never forget that we are all in this together (cue dance number.)
Take one step at a time. When things start to pile up with the last projects of the term just beginning, try not to take on too many at once. Figure out which are worth the most points, so that when it comes down to the wire (which it shouldn’t if you plan things out) you can devote the entire night or two to one thing. That way you don’t have to stay up til 3 a.m. because you realized two essays are due on the same day and you only have that much time left to finish them. You should still set aside enough time to complete assignments worth a lesser percentage of the grade, but this way you will be able to focus on just one thing long enough to finish a large project in a short amount of time if need be.
Plan out your time in advance. If you begin to feel the week slipping away from you and you can no longer remember what day it is, it may be time to invest in a planner. I personally find that it’s worth it to at least attempt to keep a personal calendar separate from Canvas. This way you can mark things down in ways you know you can remember them. Personal agendas not only let you know when things are due, but also when you need to start them. That way you can make a conscious note of how long you will need to finish things, so they don’t sneak up on you at the very end. If you think about the time frame early on, you’ll be less likely to forget about things until the last minute. That has recently been my biggest downfall. Over spring break, I got out of the habit of knowing when things were due because, for a brief period, I had no huge assignments looming over me. Now that I’m back, I find it harder to keep track of everything that I didn’t write down. If you find that you can be forgetful and don’t actively check the syllabus, it may be a good idea to keep a written log in your own handwriting or an electronic one on your phone. There are tons of free apps that can help you keep an organized schedule–one of my favorites is Wunderlist.
Start planning your summer. Another great way to make the time go by faster is to look ahead. If you have things to apply for this summer, like a job or an internship, start them now. Most internships are taking applications now through the next month or so. If you are consciously staying on top of something you look forward to, you’ll be more likely to be organized in the rest of your life. For me, it’s hard to just focus on one project intensely without having my mind jogged about other things I have going on. A mind at work stays at work. It’s when I start slacking on one thing that everything falls into a lazy funk.
By looking forward to summer opportunities, you are not only more likely to get things done on time, but you may also gain a more optimistic perspective on where you are in your life currently. If all you think about are projects, essays and other schoolwork that stresses you out, you’ll start to feel trapped and the semester will go by even slower. By filling out an application to work at a coffee shop in your town while you hang out at home, you’ll start to look forward to deadlines passing instead of dreading them. If you’re planning to stay somewhere other than home, you can look forward to getting new experience in your field of work. Internships are like living in the real world, but just for pretend because you get to go back to college afterwards. Try to enjoy these opportunities now, because as time goes on you will only have to take on more responsibility. That’s nothing to be afraid of, but it’s better to enjoy the present than worry about the future.
Think about living situations for next year. All this talk about the end of this semester has got me thinking about next year. If your living situation isn’t locked down yet, there is still time to get something rolling. There has recently been a lot of activity on school related Facebook groups about recruiting roommates–you never know what opportunities lie ahead by responding! While time is of the essence in terms of on campus housing, off campus options are still very much up for grabs. If you have a group of friends looking for apartments, that search will be much easier when you’re still in the city. If you wait until summer when you go home, you may have to make frequent trips up to Boston which isn’t always convenient. If you are looking to live off campus but don’t have a group set up, start reaching out and networkto find people who have spots to fill. The most important thing right now is to keep a positive attitude. Don’t give up, and whatever you do, don’t worry! Everything will work out like it’s supposed to.