3 Tips for Having a Fun and Productive Weekend in College

When it comes to my study habits on the weekends, I’ve always been a bit of an extremist. In high school, I either wouldn’t even look at my backpack until Monday morning, or I’d do homework for an excessive period of time. During my first semester of college, I tended to gravitate towards the latter— on Saturdays and Sundays I’d wake up, eat breakfast and head towards the library, prepared for hours after hours of never-ceasing homework. And while I began to dread those (increasingly depressing) morning walks to the library through the empty SLU campus, I also felt like I couldn’t afford to not lock myself away on the weekends. Going out with friends, exploring Central West End, even having cozy, de-stressing movie nights with my roommates— all perfectly healthy, acceptable and valid uses of my time— began to make me feel as if I was somehow “wasting” the weekend. It didn’t matter who I was with or how much fun I was having. If I wasn’t actively doing homework or studying, I found myself making endless mental lists of all the things I still needed to accomplish.

 

One of the many lessons college has to teach us is the importance of balance. Without a balanced lifestyle, it can be difficult to achieve a sense of happiness and fulfillment. As my first semester at SLU came to a close, I began to realize that letting school dictate my every move was incredibly unhealthy. Without entertaining events to look forward to on the weekends, I felt trapped in an endless and mentally exhausting cycle of constant studying, because I was putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on myself. So, as I entered into my second semester, I resolved to balance productivity with enjoyable activities, especially on the weekends. Here’s what I learned in the past month and a half:

 

1.     Create a (very rough!) weekend schedule

You by no means need to plan out every single hour— but, depending on your workload and the tasks you need to accomplish, designate chunks of time dedicated solely to being as productive as possible. Wherever you choose to study, tell yourself you aren’t leaving until you’ve finished a set amount of work.

 

2.     FOCUS. When you’re supposed to be studying, STUDY!  

One of the traps I often fall into is having too much time on my hands during the weekends. I’ll think to myself, “wow I have ALL Sunday to get this done!”— and then proceed to lose myself in the dark realms of Instagram stalking. But this just unnecessarily lengthens the homework process, chipping away at the time you could spend doing something fun! I’ve started leaving my phone in my room whenever I go somewhere to study because it permanently eliminates the distraction for a couple of hours. And, if you need a little *eXtrA* motivation, check out Her Campus author Janine Urgello’s article on Seven Ways to Keep Your Focus!

 

3.     Study in fun places

Mix it up! I’ve learned I can’t just lock myself in the quiet section of the library for hours on end because I end up pacing through the bookshelves like a caged animal. Aside from the obvious Kaldi’s or Café Ventana, check out 9 of the Best Coffee Shops to study at in St. Louis for some inspiration. An aesthetically pleasing environment will hopefully help you focus and make the studying experience more enjoyable. Plus, you’ll have access to an unlimited amount of caffeine, which can boost motivation and productivity (while simultaneously wreaking havoc on your already limited college budget— but that’s not important, right?).

 

The moral of this story? Balance! Don’t let school (or work, or whatever outside pressure it may be) consume you. And always remember that having fun isn’t a useless waste of time. Because what is the point of working so hard if we never allow ourselves to take a breath, relax and savor our current accomplishments and circumstances?