Peer Adviser Post: How to Stay Focused after Contracting Spring Fever
By Sophie Qian SEAS '15
Spring means the sun shining, lounging on Low Steps, flips flops, picnicking on the lawns, jean shorts, Bacchanal (!), and playing Frisbee barefoot. For me, it means emerging from the winter gloom and catching some rays. But doesn't it feel like spring semester is harder than winter semester? Always, at the back of my mind, I'm pushing back problem sets and papers that need to be written because I just want to sit outside. With summer break on the horizon, that just adds to the lack of motivation and leisure. The results are nights without sleep and caffeine binges. Therefore, I wanted to share some tips and strategies I've learned in my last two springs here at Columbia to help avoid getting distracted after contracting spring fever:
- Keep it in perspective. It may be extremely tempting to walk out of class and automatically plop down on the steps with your friends. Try your best to keep your head in the game and ask yourself: what do I want to achieve this semester? Use this motivation. Do you have a quiz to study for or another assignment due the next day? If you can spare half an hour on the steps, go ahead. Remember, it will feel ten times better to finish a task first or get ahead in a class, then reward yourself with a game of basketball. Avoid procrastination and try to treat this semester as an opportunity to improve your grades. And no matter what, don't ditch class just because of the weather.
- Set goals and priorities. Always keep realistic and doable short-term goals for each day and/or week. Be vigilant and aware of your time management and focus on finishing tasks quickly so you can look forward to fun outdoor activities. Set realistic blocks of time devoted to certain tasks and stick to your schedule. Think about waking up earlier to enjoy the sunshine. When you're studying, find a quiet place away from the sunshine and turn off your cell phone. Surround yourself with friends who are studying and take advantage of university resources. Not every strategy works for everybody, so pick the right combination that works for you.
- Create memories but remember to balance. Live a little and indulge yourself by creating awesome memories with your friends! Give yourself a reward if you finish an assignment! If you really want to soak up some rays, find a bench and finish your class reading! This semester is all about striking a balance between the easily-distraction of spring social activities and your individual priorities to your education. So go ahead, if you really can't stay focused, go outside and get active. But once you sit down to study, focus and practice self-discipline.
Now that I'm a third year, I've noticed that these last six weeks are often the most hectic and busy time of the year. Add the numerous final projects and papers on my plate, and it becomes the most difficult time of the year. I hope these tips help you avoid those all-nighters! Remember, the night is darkest just before the dawn and good luck!!