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Making the Most of the Shortest Quarter

It’s not just days being short that’s causing you to feel pressed for time…

Did you know that winter quarter is the shortest quarter in WWU’s regular academic year? That’s right—winter quarter only has 43 school days before final exams and two scheduled days off before it ends and spring break fun begins!

Now a shorter quarter may sound amazing if you’re still not in the full swing of things after lounging around in sweat pants throughout the holidays, or if you’re already itching for the freedom and fun of spring break, but our professors and employers are sure to be keeping their expectations as high as ever.

It’s time to get down to business!

Even if the dark, wet days make you feel tired, it is wise to push through the lethargy to make the most of the time we do have.

One basic physics principal is that an object in motion will remain in motion. The same seems to be true for people: if you’ve already got your daily agenda down pat, and organizing schoolwork with social, professional, and personal time seems like a breeze, good for you! Likely you’ll stay in the swing of things.

However, if this isn’t you yet, perhaps the New Year is the perfect time to start arranging your life in such a way that you remain productive. That means no more three hour afternoon naps (unless you really need it…) considering adding extracurricular, or rearranging how you distribute your time.

Personally, I already feel like my days are packed beyond capability for expansion. My personal problem as an honors program student, dorm-dweller, worker and girlfriend, is being overly tired because of my schedule. I take as many naps as possible trying to soak up some quiet time, and I can be found watching Pokémon on my laptop most nights (before I’m interrupted with by friends or social activities).

Still, despite my feeling inescapably overwhelmed and overbooked, I know how many mornings I sleep in, how many time I’ve skipped going to the gym, and how much time “studying” I am actually spending on social media.

Coming back to school though, it is clear to me that if I want to feel like I’m actually productive and not just busy, I will have to change some things! I’ve got a new yoga and workout plan, joined VOX (Voices for Planned Parenthood) and started going to bed and waking up earlier. I turn off my phone when reading for class and try to clean up my room a bit once a day.

For me, I found just a few simple changes and a readjustment in attitude made all the difference.

Here are some ways you can mix up your routine to feel better and make the most of winter quarter!

Read for Fun:

Insead of picking up your phone while riding the bus or waiting in line, pack a small, easy to read novel you’ve been meaning to get around to and pick it up whenever opportunity strikes. You’ll give your eyes a break from screen-time and boost creativity working a non-academic part of your brain! Try re-reading kids books that meant a lot to you growing up–likely you’ll discover bigger or important themes you may have missed as a kid, and it’ll mean so much more to you as an adult! If you’re stumped for suggestions, try reading Walk Two Moons, The Little Prince, or The Alchemist for some philosophical fun.

Join a Club:

Even just a couples hours a week spending time with a club or orgainization you care about will make you feel so much more productive. Feel like you don’t have enough time for that? Consider how much time you spend watching TV, or how easy it could be to start your days a little earlier to make time for something important. Rec League sports are a great way to get involved and active, and sign ups begin this week!

Make Time for Yourself:

This could be at the gym, cozy in bed, or at a coffee shop. Consider starting a journal or picking up a new hobby, like knitting. You could even brave the cold and go for a hike or a sunny morning walk through the brisk and clean air. No matter what you decide is best, make sure you spend that time with your phone off, reorgainizing your thoughts and giving your head the much needed time to refresh so you can complete your other tasks calmly, efficiently, and whole heartedly. 


I hope these inspire you to make little changes which you can thank yourself for later. Happy New Year, Western, and goodluck making the most of winter quarter!

Freshman at Western Washington University pursuing a Visual Journalism degree and as many adventures as possible. I love hammocking, writing, reading, smiling, coffee, ice cream, and popcorn.
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