Ahh March… the days get longer, the weather gets warmer, and the groans of exhausted students get just a little louder over the frantic tapping of laptop keyboards. It seems like just as the end comes into view, all motivation to study is lost and the desire to do school is gone.
“I just want to get through the next 6 weeks.”
I have heard this phrase repeatedly from a few students the past few days and it breaks my heart. Here’s why: that is a statement of defeat. There is no determination to succeed in those words. That is the sound of all your goals being thrown away in the wind of exhaustion. When students hit this point, and they probably will, there are two options:
1. Give up.
2. Keep going.
The first is the easiest option. Sure, you can totally spend all of your time sleeping, Netflix binging, and surfing Pinterest. But that is not the description of a successful student. So instead, here are 5 tips to help make it through that final stretch to freedom, aka summer break:
1. Have A Good Attitude
You’ll never get any work done if you keep telling yourself that you’ll never get any work done. And don’t pull the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ card either. Having a negative attitude will only make procrastination worse. Instead, try to tell yourself positive things! Things like, “I can do this!”, “I am not a failure!”, or, “Just one more page!” Friends and family can be a huge support and can encourage you to keep going.
2. Be Realistic
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t plan to write three pages if you know you’ll likely only write 500 words. That leads to disappointment which leads to the negative attitude we addressed in Tip #1. Aim for what you know you can accomplish. Also take into consideration what your study habits are. If you know you work best between 9pm - 11pm, don’t plan to study at 7am! Plan your day so that the majority of your work can happen during your most productive hours. You should also plan how you will spend those productivity times. Do you prefer to work steady for a couple hours, or do you need to take more frequent breaks? Being realistic is all about knowing how you work, when you work, and what you’ll be able to accomplish.
3. Take Care of Yourself
I cannot stress this enough: YOU CAN’T BE A STUDENT IF YOU’RE NOT A HUMAN FIRST. You can’t write a paper or study for a test if you’re dead. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but the reality is that if you are struggling mentally and physically, you cannot thrive academically. Try to eat healthy, stay hydrated, and for the love of all that is good, GET SOME SLEEP. 4-5 hours a night or less is not enough to function as a human, let alone be a successful student. When your mind and body are feeling great, homework will be much less intimidating, and you’ll have the energy and focus to accomplish everything on your to-do list.
4. Talk To Your Professors
I know Dr. Know-it-all can seem scary, especially when you need to ask for an extension, but I assure you that he or she wants to help you succeed. Professors care about the wellbeing of students, especially at Ambrose. If you are drowning in assignments, reach out to your professors for help. They can give you an extension or re-work an assignment so that it is more manageable for you. Even if an assignment can’t be altered, they can still be a support to help keep you motivated and productive. They were students too, so they know exactly what you’re feeling.
5. Reward Yourself
This goes along with taking care of yourself. When you do manage to get some work done, reward yourself! You’ve earned it! Rewards can be great motivators! Say things like, “When I finish this chapter, I can go for coffee,” or, “I’ll type one more page and then I can watch Netflix,” or, “If we finish this assignment, then we can play a board game.” You’ll have a reason to keep working, because you want your reward, and you’ll feel better knowing that your work is done! Reward responsibly though-- you need to actually do some work before treating yourself.
I hope these tips can help you overcome the hurdle of procrastination, and finish the semester strong!
-Mo Hickman :)
Images courtesy of: