Dear Highlander

Dear Highlander,

Break was great; I was so happy to get some good relaxation in. But the problem is, now I am way too relaxed. I thought it would be easy to get back into work mode, but I have been totally incapable of doing anything remotely productive. I can’t find motivation to do even the simplest of assignments, much less work on my research paper or study for my exams. Help, please? I need to learn how to be a workhorse again.

Sincerely,

Got-That-Spring-Break-Sadness

Dear Got-That-Spring-Break-Sadness,

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of people have trouble getting back into the swing of things after a holiday. I’ll give you some tips that may help you get back to work more easily.

Set concrete goals for yourself: it’s a lot easier to achieve something when you know what exactly it is that you want to achieve. I like making to-do lists so that I can check things off and see how much I’ve accomplished in a day vs. what things I still need to work on. But don’t fall into the trap of making your to-do lists general! The devil’s in the details. Instead of having a bullet like “study chemistry notes”, specify your task so that it reads more like, “spend half an hour reading through the professor’s slides, half an hour reading through the textbook, and an hour finishing the homework”. Making specific goals keeps you from working aimlessly.

Try studying with a buddy! Find a friend who is also having trouble staying focused, and you guys can keep an eye on each other. You guys can watch each other to make sure you’re finishing what you’re supposed to, keep each other motivated if you see each other struggling, and take your breaks together as needed. Studying with a friend rather than keeping yourself isolated for hours at a time can help you to stay alert and focused.

Promise yourself small rewards as motivation to do your work. For example, if you work for an hour, you can watch a couple YouTube videos. As with the to-do list, make sure that you are specific about how much work you’re doing and what your designated reward will be. You don’t want watching one episode on Netflix to turn into binge-watching an entire season.

Don’t neglect your health: keeping your energy up to tackle that pile of assignments will be difficult if you’re not sleeping and eating properly. Get your sleep schedule regulated again so that you’re not sleeping in till noon, and try to get three solid meals in a day.

I know it can be hard to start working again, but remind yourself that the whole point of spring break is to be able to refresh yourself so you can tackle the rest of the semester head on. You got this, good luck!

Sincerely,

A Fellow Highlander

 

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