Avoiding The End Of Semester Slump

Avoiding The End Of Semester Slump

How to stay motivated when you're on the verge of giving up.

It's that time of year once more—spring is in the air and summer is just on the horizon. In the midst of all the sunshine, flowers, and beach fever, it's difficult to remain motivated and keep your priorities in check. Study "breaks" turn into endless Netflix marathons, and every night becomes the perfect night to go out when there's 70-degree weather outside. It's easy to discount the papers, exams, and projects when you are so close to the finish line; although you want to finish strong, you can't remember why you're doing so in the first place.

I know what it's like. I know you're on the verge of giving up. You're sick of your job, your classes are dragging, and the work seems endless. At this point, you could honestly care less about flunking that last exam, and attending classes seems completely arbitrary. I know, because I'm going through it too. Spring fever has hit me in full force, and it's taking every bit of energy I have to finish out the year.

I also know this—as tempting as it is to discard your responsibilities, you owe it to yourself to do the best you can. All the effort you put in throughout the semester, the sleepless nights, early mornings, and caffeine-induced study sessions mean nothing if you let it all go now. Soon enough, summer will be here, and you can finally have the long-awaited lazy mornings and relaxing pool days (those with internships and summer classes, RIP). Until then, put your energy and efforts into succeeding to the best of your abilities in whatever endeavors you have yet to accomplish.

You may dread it now, but your future self will thank you for not letting your GPA tank during your last few weeks of spring semester. By no means am I saying you should shut yourself out from society and fun and solely focus on the work at hand, but don't take a nap or watch TV every time you remember you have something important to do. Find the balance between work and pleasure. In the end, the work will be worth it. Until then, here are a few ways to make these last few weeks slightly more bearable.

1. Have some fun in the sun

Just because you have a paper to write or math problems to work out doesn't mean you can't enjoy the beautiful weather! One of the most depressing moments for me is when there is beautiful weather outside, but I'm stuck inside studying. Take the books, hit the closest lake or park near you, and study there! Need WiFi? Not a problem. Many parks offer WiFi service as well. Raleigh actually has their own WiFi network throughout the city, so even places such as Pullen Park, which happens to be my favorite study spot, have access to the internet. If this doesn't work for you, check out places such as Bruegger's or Starbucks that offer outdoor seating along with WiFi! You get to soak up the sun and get your vitamin D intake while soaking up the information you need to do great on your exam.

2. Two (or more) is better than one

Let me guess—your motivation is at an all-time low. Lucky for you, that's pretty much the state of every other student on this campus as well. In instances when you feel like you just can't get through the work alone, make plans to study with classmates to help each other out. Making plans to study with other people makes you accountable for showing up and actually doing your work.

3. Set goals and rewards

When the amount of work you have becomes overwhelming, or you just can't find the motivation to get it done, set rewards that can help inspire you to get it done. Make plans with a friend to do something you like once you get to a certain chapter, or whenever you finish your paper. Just make sure these goals are realistic. For example, I told myself that once I finish this article, I will treat myself to a five-course meal at the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate yet another article. Very realistic and attainable, right? (Reality: currently, I cannot afford a single slice of cheesecake, let alone an entire dinner).

4. Make a schedule, and follow it

Sometimes you know that you have work to do, but you say that you'll do it "later." Instead of procrastinating and then crying on the inside (or outside) when the work all piles up, make a schedule that gives you enough time to get your work done. Set time aside for work, studying, and for relaxation! Need to have your daily Netflix fix? Pencil it in! It sounds silly, but when you have a plan, it will help you maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle with both work and fun. Of course, once you make a schedule, you should follow it! (Personally, I'm still working on this part)

So there you have it. Even though the thought of sitting down and writing that 20-page paper you have due a week from now makes you want to cry, the sooner you start, the faster it'll get done. Stay motivated and you can make it through these last weeks of the semester successfully. If not, you're probably at the wrong school. In this instance, you should probably head to the counterfeit diploma business down the road (also known as UNC) and buy your degree.

Cover Image Credit: The Odyssey

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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To The Friend Starting The Next Chapter Of Her Life With The National Guard

I wish you the very best at all times, and I'm always here when you need me.


You were so nervous. You knew it wasn't going to be easy. It was even going to be your first time on a plane, along with your first time really being on your own. You may not have been 100% sure of what you were about to do, but I knew you were ready. I watched you grow throughout high school, especially our senior year, and I want you to know just how proud I am of you for making this life-changing career choice.

Joining the military isn't an easy choice, and boy, did you put a lot of time into your decision. I remember when you first mentioned the idea to me. I was surprised of course, but I never once doubted your capability. For a while, you continued to toss the idea around with your others, and eventually, you made your decision.

These next few months may seem like forever right now, but once you get into it, they're going to fly by. I can't wait for it to be May so I can hear about all of your adventures on one of our famous late night drives or Steak 'n Shake runs that usually end with us sitting in my driveway for hours talking, laughing and sometimes even crying. Summers were always the best with you, from trips to Cedar Point where I worked, Kalahari where you working, or the mall, of course. This summer, however, will be different. You and I will both have just gone through huge events, mine being my first year of college, and yours being boot camp. Even though we don't see each other as often as we used to, we're still close, and I admire that about us. No matter how many miles there are between us, I promise to always be here for you, at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and everything in between.

So, through these next few months, just keep in mind that I'm right there next to you, and I will always be a text, Snap, call, letter or email away. It may seem tough, maybe even impossible at times, but you're tougher. You always have been. You have me and a whole party bus full of friends and family backing you up, and we all believe in you. Now, go show the National Guard what you're made of!

XOXO, your "twin," Ash

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