I Think I Can: Getting Through the Semester

Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Ugh, what time is it? Snooze. Alarm. I have to get up,  I cannot spare another minute to putting off the start of my day. I have way too much to do. Over the last few weeks, it has felt like the same thing every single day. I wake up in the morning looking forward to when I get to go back to bed that night (or is 2 am considered late morning?). As the semester slowly drags on, though never slow enough for me to catch up on homework, my sole motivator at the moment is knowing that Thanksgiving break promises an entire week off for students. This brings me temporary joy until I remember the overwhelming amount of work there is to be done before the break. To worry myself further, I question if I will be able to enjoy the break itself, knowing that finals are waiting for us when we return to our academics. How do we break this lapse of negativity and the overwhelming feeling that comes with getting through the remainder of the semester? Unfortunately, I do not have that answer. However, I have learned some encouraging things that help me get through this time in the semester, and I will share that with you!  

Though it is not the same as in a pre-COVID world when I would see him daily, one of my closest friends continues to remind me of this when I need to hear it most: take it one step at a time, baby. I have a tendency to allow my mind to race ahead and worry about things that have not happened yet, and I have learned how counterproductive it is to allow yourself to fall into this trap. Giving your full attention to the task at hand allows you to complete your assignment in a more-efficient, less-flustered manner. You are less likely to make simple mistakes and those big "AHA" moments come more easily when your mind is completely focused on the big paper you have been putting off. 

It's no secret that water, exercise and a healthy diet are a major key in helping you feel your best. Whatever your method is to keep the water coming in and the ideas flowing out, do what works for you. I know I am where I should be hydration-wise when I am annoyed that I have to keep getting up to pee. This usually serves as a healthy mini-break from my screen. A healthy diet is a very broad subject in my book. It is something that varies from person-to-person, as well as from day-to-day. While getting the proper amount of fruits and vegetables is scientifically shown to help boost brain power, sometimes all I can focus on is my strong craving for a cookie, or a milkshake or a cheeseburger. Whatever it is your body, and mind, are craving, allow yourself to enjoy what will help keep you productive and studying. If you think that you have the time or simply need a break, cook a meal for yourself and your loved ones, something good for the brain and the body. 

My golden rule on exercise: listen to your body. When it comes down to it, do what is going to make you feel better. If going on a run will allow you to better focus on your school work later, tie up those laces and get outside. If the idea of stepping away from your keyboard brings you anxiety, save the exercise for later. It will be there whenever you are ready. A 10 minute screen break can work wonders. If the weather is permitting, open a window or go on a short walk for a quick reboot before jumping back into studying.

Finally, be kind to yourself. College is difficult enough as it is. Add in the fact that we are currently experiencing a global pandemic and the hard gets a lot harder. It is important to hold yourself accountable and remember why you are in college. These are significant years that offer much reward if we allow ourselves to fully reap the benefits our hard work can bring us. So much time, money and sacrifice has gone into getting you exactly where you are. You are not going to let this semester be what deters you? It is not a question, say it again. You are not going to let this semester be what deters you!