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.