A large part of being a student is not being a student.
I remember storming through Spring semester. When it came time for summer, I really had no clue what to do. It kind of felt like I forgot who I was and everything I did on my free time because I was so wired up to work like a machine. I remember going to the library and reading books nonstop for a couple of weeks because I had a strong feeling that I needed to keep working and I felt guilty when I was not doing anything, even though there was absolutely nothing to do.
Being a student in college calls for amazing time management skills and endless hours of actively studying and working to succeed, but it also calls for breaks, which is something we usually neglect to do while the semester is in session.
Breaks are great to prevent semester burn outs. Now that I am in my junior year, I have realized a pattern that I have been following: For fall semesters, coming back from months of doing absolutely nothing, I usually stay on my toes until midterm point and begin to burn out right before because I get exhausted, causing me to do terrible on midterms and then spend the rest of the semester stressing and trying to get back on track by overworking. This usually ends horribly. Spring semesters, I usually start off slow because I am exhausted from my previous semester’s shenanigans, which helps me regulate breaks for myself right from the beginning so that I can easily prevent the mid semester burnout.
Taking breaks and knowing when to take them are a powerful tools for your academic achievements. These breaks also help you to remember who you are, while striving to be an A grade machine. It takes me forever to remember who I am all over again after spring semesters because I spend so much time away from being myself or when there is time I am usually too exhausted to do anything.
Even though it sounds really easy to take a break, figuring out when to take a break when there is barely any time to finish work as is is really tricky. A lot of my free time ends up being wasted lying in bed before school dreading to start my day; falling asleep in the Science library, while trying to get work done between my classes; or laying down, after school, unable to move from the exhaustion.
In my last blog post, I talked about time management, mostly in the sense of not procrastinating and getting work done efficiently, but there is a great deal of time management that goes behind taking breaks. To allow myself to take breaks, I need to finish all of the work I have planned for that day or for the week, so that I do not ruin my “break day” by stressing our about work I still have to get done. Setting myself up to look forward to things is a technique I use to make myself finish my work faster, instead of moping around. The thought of working hard now and being able to relax later at a set date for an event always makes me work a ton more efficiently.
Breaks are not something I am good at managing. Sometimes I am really good with self-control, and allowing myself to get back to work after a day or two of stepping away from school work, but sometimes I do not get back to the world of homework and studying. This sometimes results in me not taking breaks at all for a couple of months, in order to catch up. Doesn’t that sound stressful.
Figuring out how to balance a social life, school, sleep and pretty much everything is something I have been trying to do since starting college. Sure I have improved a lot, and I do not end my semesters scarred for life and hating myself anymore. Still, I could really improve my efficiency by a ton, if I keep trying to figure out what is not working for me. This is something I strive to continue doing. I am getting better and better.
Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
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