Handling hardships at the semester’s end

Kristin Boyles, Staff Writer

     With the amount of last-minute exams, finals and final projects that come with the end of the semester, on top of going to work or extracurricular activities, I think it’s important to remember to give yourself a break. Ever since high school, I’ve always heard my friends wonder how I manage to achieve good grades without putting in copious amounts of time to do it.

     To put it simply, it’s important to give yourself a break. As a Secondary Education major, there are plenty of things I’m asked to accomplish throughout the semester –from observation hours to class assignments– on top of all of my other classes, exams and going to work. I’m sure most majors have a similar regiment.

     Often, my friends and classmates say to me that they spend hours studying in the library, or finishing a project. While that’s certainly going to be necessary at times, there comes a point where it’s integral you take a step back and do something else.

     Instead of spending four straight hours studying for an exam or typing an essay, I’ve found that what works the best is doing these assignments in small increments. Read through your notes and then take a break.

     Scroll through Instagram, have a snack, or go talk to your friends or family. Come back in fifteen or twenty minutes and keep working.

     I’ve been doing this for years and it has not failed me yet. Taking breaks consistently while doing work will help allow the information to sort of “soak” into your mind. I find that I can more easily remember the content for an exam by studying at intervals, rather than in a steady-stream. This same idea applies for writing a paper, for example.

     Although it might be tempting to sit and write as much as you can while you have inspiration and motivation, that may not necessarily be your best bet. Instead, write a paragraph or two at a time and then pause for some relaxation.

     And yes, as it turns out, this is the perfect time to watch another episode of your favorite show on Netflix. When you come back, you’ll feel less anxious and stressed about trying to get your paper done and more readily able to get back into completing your assignment.

     Of course, that’s not to say that there isn’t a fine line between taking breaks and procrastination. One can easily slip into disastrous territory without keeping your deadlines in check.

     Another thing that’s important to remember is that, unless absolutely necessary, studying or doing homework past ten p.m. is generally useless. I know this is college, though, so maybe eleven would be more accurate.

     Nevertheless, I’ve always found that if I stop studying and doing homework between ten and eleven, stress starts to be eliminated. I can have a late-night snack or watch something on TV.

     It’s easier to fall asleep after watching a rerun of “Friends” than after cramming for a biology exam all night, no? Besides, trying to remember what you read at 11:57 p.m. is going to be much more difficult than recalling what you read at 8:30.

     So, with the end of the semester drawing near, this is a friendly reminder not to overwork yourself.

     It’s okay to scroll through Instagram for a few minutes, go eat dinner with some friends, or bake yourself some cookies. Your work will still be there when you get back and you’ll feel refreshed, recharged and ready to pick up where you left off.

Kristin is a Secondary Education major and a Staff Writer for The Voice.