Relax, Recharge (and Finalize Your Spring Course Schedule): Making Your Last Week of Classes as Painless as Possible

So, you packed up your room. You submitted that midterm paper. You enjoyed one last socially-distanced courtyard meal with your friends (and managed not to catch hypothermia while doing so). You filled out your move-out packet, turned in your key, updated your learning location to “enrolled remote,” hopped on an Uber or shuttle or train or plane or mom’s car, and said “Bye Yale! See you in February/summer/fall/never again!” 

And then you feel it. 

That itching, creeping reminder that you can’t let your guard down just yet. In the next three weeks, you will not only have to take classes, prepare for finals, take finals, and CHOOSE YOUR COURSE SCHEDULE FOR THE SPRING. Excuse me? What?

Confronting the infamous, dreaded Week After Thanksgiving Break is perhaps a more challenging task than ever now that you have to confront it at home, a place ripe with distractions and WiFi problems. But you don’t have to face it alone. Here are 5 tips to surviving this last week of classes while maintaining your overall well being.

1. Make classes as painless as possible

If there’s one perk to virtual learning, it’s that you get to design your own lecture hall. Gone are the awkwardly small desks of WLH or the painful fluorescent lighting of Watson. Never to be endured again is the mile-long trek from Old Campus to Science Hill. There’s a new study space in town: your couch. It’s been a long and weird semester— you deserve this last week to be as cozy as possible. If it means drinking coffee/tea/cocoa during all of your Zoom classes, who’s stopping you? So wear the blanket to class and pretend your seminar is a choose-your-own-adventure holiday rom com. 

2. Shop early & shop selfishly 

And no, we don’t mean going hard on those Black Friday deals— but you do you. This year’s holiday gift to yourself? The Spring Semester schedule of your dreams. With the looming deadline of your preliminary course schedule at hand (December 18th), you may be tempted to push all the virtual shopping until the night before. Don’t fall into this trap— there’s no such thing as same-day shipping when it comes to crafting your course schedule. Some classes require pre-registration or applications far earlier in the month, so check those Canvas sites and reap the benefits of #virtualshopping. 

3. Don’t forget all the Yale resources you have

Yale resources are like a star. You can’t always see them, but they’re always there. Despite that statement being *utterly* cringe-tastic, it’s true. Just because you’re not on campus anymore, it doesn’t mean that your dean, your head of college, your FroCo, mental health and counseling, the cultural centers, the Office of Career Strategy, the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, SHARE, and literally every other network are not there. Because they are all there for you. Managing these colder, darker days where papers amass is difficult enough when you’re surrounded by friends on campus, so it’s understandable that this year might be a little harder. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about any aspect of your life, remember that you have an entire team behind you cheering you on.

4. Reward and/or incentivize yourself for small accomplishments

A motivation to succeed academically isn’t always enough to get you to log off YouTube and log onto Canvas (shudder). Sometimes, you need a bit of a harder push. Create a system of benchmarks and rewards which will incentivize you to write the five pages or study the three chapters. Whether you reward yourself with a walk around the neighborhood or several chocolate chip cookies, it’s a win-win situation. Disclaimer— just make sure that the rewards don’t outnumber the actual amount of work being done. That kind of defeats the purpose. 

5. Recognize your value aside from being a student

While you scramble to finish assignments and anticipate those scary [email protected] emails rolling in, you might be tempted to place a whole lot of self worth on your letter grades. While grades are important, you are living through a literal pandemic and your health, safety, and overall well being are acutely more important than getting an A rather than an A-. Don’t get me wrong— it’s important to do your best. But if you find that your best might be slightly less perfect than if, you know, it wasn’t a global pandemic, know you’re not alone and that it’s okay. 

YOU CAN DO THIS! At the end of this week, imagine how great it’s going to feel when you realize you never have to go to a 9 AM ever again. Well, that is, until February 1st rolls around.