The start of a new semester is never easy, but, in my opinion, the spring semester is the worst because January is snowy and cold and it’s just so hard to leave the comfort of your bed back home and start working again. I can tell you I personally wanted to just curl up in my bed at home with my cat and completely forget about the science lab I have to take this semester. But alas, we all have to go back to school and get back into the swing of things. I just began my fourth semester here at Boston University, so I’ve come up with a few tips and hacks to help you get back into life on campus when you don’t want to go out and face the snow for those dreaded 8 AM classes.
1. Write everything in your planner, especially the exciting stuff!
At the beginning of the semester, my roommate and I like to sit down and write everything in our planners from homework and big assignments to birthdays or visits from our friends from home. It’s always good to get everything down, especially the exciting stuff. I try to have something each week that I’m looking forward to so it makes getting through the stress and homework easier. I know it sucks to look ahead and see when exams are projects are due (I have one of each due the same day as a paper so I feel your pain), but it’s important so you don’t forget important things and can hold yourself accountable.
2. Stock up on snacks.
I live right down the street from Star Market and something I made sure to do during my first week back after the break was to go and stock up on snacks, drinks, and ice cream. I’m the type of person that can’t do work if I’m hungry so I always make sure to be stocked up so I can snack on some popcorn while I’m writing an essay. It’s just one less excuse for me to avoid doing work and it’s nice to know I can have cheese whenever I want without having to go out in the cold to City Co.
3. Get back into a routine.
Routines make everything easier. I’ve read that you need to do something for 21 days before it develops into a habit, so figure the first three weeks of the semester you can solidify your daily routine and after that, it won’t be a chore, but rather something you automatically do. For me, my morning isn’t complete without washing my face and putting on Twin Peaks while I’m doing my makeup. Routines just make things go by quicker and it’s good to have something stable during those weeks that seem like they’re never going to end and there’s just too much going on. It’s a good way to wind down and to take a few minutes to say this is comfortable and I’m happy to be doing this.
4. Make time for you.
This goes hand in hand with number three because you-time and downtime are important parts of any routine. I try to take one night a week where I just chill out, do a face mask, and watch hockey or Dan and Phil videos with my roommate. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with work and extracurriculars in college, but it’s so important to take a step back, breathe, and just relax. Mental health is so important and even though you have a paper due Monday or you forgot to do that reading, just take 10 minutes for a face mask and de-stress; you’ll thank yourself later.
5. Don’t look at everything at once.
It’s easy to write down all of the work you need to get done in one night or one weekend and get overwhelmed by it. There are nights I have four reading assignments and a paper to write and I just want to curl up and cry. But, that’s where you need to take things one task or assignment at a time. Make a list and focus on one thing and check each one off as you complete it. It’ll help manage stress and when you’re overwhelmed and working your butt off, the little wins can mean a lot.
6. Don’t be afraid to take breaks.
Sitting down on a Saturday and saying “Okay, I’m going to study all day and get my work done so I can relax tomorrow” is good in theory, but in practice, it’s not necessarily very practical. In terms of retention, your brain can only take in and hold so much information at one time so don’t be afraid to take breaks! Write one paragraph at a time and take a 10-minute break for that psychology paper you have or read half of what you need to for English and take a little snack break. It may take you an hour or two longer than you want, but those breaks will do you a world of good when you can remember everything after all is said and done.
7. Have fun!
Whether it’s going out to dinner with your friends, watching a movie, or having a girls night, make time for fun! My roommate and I do family dinner with our friend group at least once a week where we can all catch up and vent about whatever is going on and it’s so refreshing. Plus, you’ve just been apart for a month so it’s nice to see everyone again. Maybe even make it into a weekly routine like we’ve done so you’re forced to take a break and have fun. I know school comes first, but we all have our limits and deserve some fun for working hard.
The first few weeks of the semester can be tough with schedule changes, crappy weather, and getting homesick, but you can do it! Soon enough you’ll be into a solid routine and spring will be upon us. Have a great semester my lovelies and I hope this helped some of you! If nothing else, just know you’re not alone in being stressed and overwhelmed.