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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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!


Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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