CollegeEducation

Senioritis is all too real, especially with it being finals season, and even graduation soon for some students. While procrastination is already heavily prevalent across all colleges, senioritis is exceptionally worse. Keep reading to learn some strategies on how to stay focused on work, graduation, and post-grad plans.

The end of the semester is either the last thing on your mind because of the mounds and mounds of work you have left to do, or the very first thing on your mind – summer vacation! Yet for many seniors, the prospect of the end of the semester is both exciting and terrifying. Not only are you worrying about all of your classwork, you’re also pouring over graduate school or job applications, apartment listings, and trying to hang out with your friends as often as possible before you all go off into the real world.

How seniors approach the end of the semester can either be stressing out about all of the above, or just acting very apathetic to the work in front of them. Many fall somewhere in between, yet neither is quite healthy for your mind or your grades. Here are some tips to stay focused all the way to the end and still enjoy their last semester in college.

Stay Organized

The quickest way to senioritis, skipping classes, and unintentionally lowering your grades is by not staying organized. If you have your schedule written out on five different pieces of paper and you’ve suddenly reverted to being a freshman in high school and losing all of your homework, you need to either invest in a school planner, or start using a calendar on your phone. Between a constantly changing softball schedule, class hours and my on campus job, Google calendar is my lifesaver.

I’m a list maker. I make lists for literally everything: groceries, homework due, what I’m eating during the day, what non-homework things I need to get done, you name it. So because of that, I have two constant lists: Homework To Do, and Other To Do. Oftentimes the “other” is what I call “productive procrastination” – looking at job sites, car dealerships, recipes my friends and I want to try when we’re off the meal plan, and things my parents want to do when they come out for my graduation. These are all things I have to do at some point anyway, so whenever I’m feeling extra unmotivated to do homework, I switch over to my other list and see what I need to get done.

Juggling all that needs to get done before graduation can cause anyone’s head to whirl. Sometimes it can be too much, but it doesn’t have to be. Alternate what kind of work you do which days: Monday/Wednesday/Friday you do school work, and Tuesday/Thursday you spend the day job searching and apartment hunting. That way, you stay on top of both without stressing yourself out too much.

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is knowing what you can and cannot do during the day without going insane. That includes getting as much good sleep as possible, eating well multiple times a day (taking snacks to class if you don’t have time for lunch works well), and even exercising on a semi-regular basis. These small things are often overlooked, but are essential to not going crazy.

Instead of attempting to pull an all-nighter, when you feel like you’re too tired to do any more work, take a shower and go to bed. It’s better to do it the next day when you are feeling more energized than attempt to carry on working in a half-zombie state of mind.

Take an hour or so out of your day to go to the gym or take a nice walk. It can also be a social hour if you feel like you haven’t been able to spend enough time with friends.

Spend Time With Your Friends

Before you know it, your friend group is going to be pulled apart in different directions as people follow their dream job or attend grad school. Make some time every day to catch up with someone, it can be as small as getting coffee or as big as a shopping day or going to a baseball game, so that you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your last semester of college.

Find Motivation

This might be an odd thing to have on a list of way to keep yourself motivated, but sometimes it’s really that simple. For some, their motivating drive stems from getting their work done so that the end of the semester can be spent relaxing with friends. For others, it can be the pending email about a job prospect. Yet for a whole other group, they need small, attainable goals to keep them motivated for the last two months of the semester. It’s very easy to be so stressed out that you end up doing nothing productive – don’t fall into that black hole. Instead, set a small goal of completing your homework for the day and rewarding yourself with an episode of your favorite show (ONE episode – small goal, small reward!).

Make Playlists for Different Moods

Some people do this for fun, and some dread it (like myself). As someone that will listen to anything, I’m not always aware of what kinds of music affects me when. However, I’ve noticed that I do more and better work when I’m listening to instrumental music rather than top 40 hits. But to get out of bed, I need something pop-y and fresh to get me going for my 9:30am class. Whether you make your own playlists or borrow from Spotify (that’s what I do), find your fit.

Set Aside Guilt-Free Time For Fun

It’s still college, after all. You will remember that time you and your friend spent all day contemplating the importance of a (very) attractive side character of your favorite show than the night you spent doing work. After landing your first job or getting your master’s degree, your GPA won’t matter. It’s about the experiences and memories. Know what is important and what is important to you, and find the best balance of both. If that means forcing your friend to do homework with you so that you can see her AND study for that test on Friday, then do it. If you choose to go out with the boys tonight, just remember to make up that work the next day. Life is all about balance, so find yours.

Image: Flickr

Culture

It’s that time of year again. Love is in the air, but you don’t have to save it all for your significant other. Parks and Recreation had its ladies gather on February 13th for a “Galentine’s” Day celebration. While the show is a comedy and depicts the holiday in a comedic way, embracing the idea is a great opportunity for you to take a break from your love life to hang out with your girl friends. My friends decided that the day following Valentine’s Day worked better for us – it’s all about finding time to appreciate your friends and spend time together. Here are some ways you can enjoy your own celebration:

Brunch

Who doesn’t love brunch? You get a wide variety of food because of the hybrid morning/afternoon time. It’s the perfect time to catch up with your pals and hear what kind of Valentine’s Day they had. This is a good way to squeeze in some time with your friends if you’ve all been busy at work and haven’t had time to see each other. Save your breaks and take a long lunch!

Candy and Gifts

You don’t have to get your friends a gift. However, the day after Valentine’s Day provides a lot of sales. You can get a lot of discounted candy to munch on or a nice movie to watch with your friends.

Relaxation

Holidays can be stressful but hanging out with your friends never has to be. My friends and I are movie fiends, so we do romantic comedy movie marathons. If your significant other refuses to sit through Sleepless In Seattle with you, you can watch it with your friends the next day. Another option is a group spa day. Do what you like and enjoy yourself.

These are just a few ways you can celebrate. You can do a book trade or a shopping trip together. It doesn’t have to be just your friends – your coworkers or family members can join in! The point is to show love for everyone in your life.

Image: Flickr

CultureSkills

‘Talent’ is a word that receives more adulation than required. We often praise an individual for being talented at something. But I believe that is a red herring, a misleading supposition. In fact, I am against the whole notion of using the word talented to appreciate someone’s efforts or achievements.

To have talent is to be gifted with an ability or skill. Many even call it ‘god-given’. But this is not the quality that takes a person from zero to hero. Talent is a definite plus-one, but it does not complete the puzzle of success. The biggest piece to achievement is ‘commitment’. And as overly-repeated as it sounds, hard work is what really matters. Talent might give you the first big leap, but consistency is what lets you leap further.

In my own experience with media related jobs, I have noticed two types of people; those who are extremely skilled writers but don’t stick to deadlines, and those who may not be as adroit but send in their articles on time without fail. I personally prefer the latter group of writers. They might not produce the most beautiful of writings, but they remain committed. Their dedication invariably leads to the betterment of their writing skills.

As the great Will Smith once said, “I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.” Lack of talent should not demotivate us; depravity should serve as an impetus, a source of motivation that propels us. After all, the many exemplars who have moved boulders aren’t ones who pride on talent, but those who truly persist against all odds.

Image: Raumrot

CultureHealth

You know that moment during a meal when everyone is pleasantly full after finishing their entree, just before someone reluctantly reminds the table the restaurant is closing soon so it’s time to sign the check? That soul-warming instant when conversation flows effortlessly? This moment has a name. Sobremesa (n.) is a Spanish word meaning, “the time spent around the table after dinner, talking to the people you shared the meal with; time to digest and savor both food and friendship.” This word is the essence of why in an over stimulated, hectic world, it’s so important to make time to gather around a table for meals.

While I admit my love for the sobremesa is partially because I am a certified foodie, it’s even more so because the Sobremesa is a time for true conversation, an art seemingly dwindling in our generation. We are so used to texting and Facebook messaging entire conversations, that it’s easy to forget how beneficial face-to-face conversation is. While you might feel you know someone well, a deeper realm of connection opens upon seeing facial expressions, gestures, and all the multifaceted characteristics of speaking in real life.

There have been numerous studies detailing the benefits of “table time” in families and in any type of relationship. According to Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and countless other sources, table time strengthens solidarity in relationships (families, friends, sports teams, roommates, and so on), alleviates stress, improves conversation skills, encourages healthier eating, and broadens intellectual horizons by sharing and listening to different perspectives. All this while possibly exploring new cuisines!

At least once a month, my roommates and I plan a “roomie dinner” where we each pitch in to help; someone purchases ingredients, another provides his/her cooking skills, and another roommate sets the table and helps clean. We gather around the table, leaving all school and life-related stresses at our desks for a few hours to simply enjoy each other’s company. Most dinners, we will choose a meal theme – anything from Mexican to Italian cuisine. Here are a couple of our favorite dishes:

In college, it is easy to get used to eating quick meals while watching Hulu between classes or meetings. I challenge you, however, to take a break. Carve out a few hours of your time and experience just how restorative and forever calming a dinner and its Sobremesa are for the soul.

Image: FoodiesFeed