With spring break now over, all that stands between us and the freedom of summer is roughly four weeks of school. For many, the impending end of the semester can be intimidating and stressful. We fear the days ahead, knowing they’ll be riddled with final project deadlines and exam after exam after exam. While the weeks ahead may seem impossible, here are a few tips that can help you beat the post-spring-break slump and finish the semester strong.
Don’t pressure yourself to get it all done at once — that simply won’t work.
We have four weeks left in the semester because there is four weeks’ worth of work left to do. So don’t try to do it all at once. Appreciate the time you do have, and don’t let impending deadlines stress you out. Focus on one week at a time, or even a few days at a time if you have to. Constantly looking ahead in your planner and obsessing over everything still left to do isn’t productive. Try breaking your assignments and deadlines down by week to focus on what matters most in the coming days. If you have long-term projects, try setting personal deadlines to break the project down into smaller sections. If you pace yourself and work on assignments for an hour or two each day, you will find things much more manageable.
One method that can be helpful while studying is the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a simple method that utilizes bursts of hyper-focused work time balanced with short breaks to maximize your productivity. To use the Pomodoro Technique, first pick a task. Set a timer for 25 minutes and concentrate on your task for that entire duration. When your timer goes off, step away from work for five minutes. Every four cycles, take a longer break of around 15-30 minutes to recharge before your next session. If you like working to study music, there are many YouTube Channels, like The Sherry Formula, which uploads “Study with Me” videos to keep track of time for you!
Speak kindly to the one who matters most — yourself.
It can be easy to look at your planner filled with countless looming deadlines and say to yourself, “I can’t do this.” It’s almost instinct for us to speak to ourselves this way, but this type of behavior is self-destructive. You’d never tell a stressed friend that they can’t persist and finish all they need to accomplish — so why speak to yourself this way? Be kind. Be supportive. Change the narrative. Instead of saying, “this is so hard” or “I’ll never understand this,” try incorporating positivity. Tell yourself things like, “If I start by reading through my textbook and looking over my notes, at least I’ll be moving in the right direction. Once I start, it will get easier!” Catch your negative thoughts when they occur and replace them with new, helpful thoughts. Before you know it, your positive self-talk will become a habit.
Listen to your mind and your body.
During stressful weeks, it can be easy to fall behind on things like sleep, healthy eating and staying active. Grades are important, but nothing is more important than your physical and emotional wellbeing. Listen to your body and take time for yourself. This can take the form of whatever you need most, like an afternoon walk to enjoy the sunshine, a quick nap to recharge or a waffle breakfast to start a big day in a fun way. Set a personal goal to do at least one thing a day where you can completely let go of other responsibilities and enjoy yourself, even if you can only spare 30 minutes. Taking a short moment to focus on your holistic health will make all the difference to ensure you don’t feel burned out by the end of the semester.
With the semester quickly coming to an end, it can be challenging to motivate yourself to finish. However, it’s never too late to start incorporating strong study techniques and self-care habits into your life. Break down assignments into smaller deadlines, speak kindly to yourself and listen to your body during these last four weeks of school. Finish strong, Tigers — summer is just around the corner!
Written by: Chase Meininger