There’s something that happens at certain points in your college career: it’s called spring semester. I don’t know if I’m speaking for anyone else when I say this, but spring semester always kicks my butt. This is for a few obvious reasons. First of all, winter break is much shorter than summer break, so there’s less of a breather before the action starts again in full force. It is also colder. When it’s cold outside, I just want to hunker down and watch Netflix and eat Skittles all night.
The first part of the spring semester usually starts off pretty cold.
With cold comes snow and with snow comes snow days. Oh, the dreaded snow days. Yes, they’re fun at first: you go sledding, you build snowmen, you drink hot cocoa. It’s all fun and games. Then you realize you haven’t had class for half a week. You start forgetting where your classrooms are or even where you put your backpack. Yes, snow days are the killers of my motivation. As if that wasn’t bad enough, once the weather stops being cold…it gets warm. Warm is probably worse than cold. Because now, you’re in class, and the breeze is blowing and the sun is out, and you can hear people out on the quad from all the way inside Avery. And you’d probably give your left kidney to be out there with them. I can remember Earth Day from one of my spring semesters past. Everyone was on the quad, drawing chalk pictures, sitting in a drum circle, and tie-dying. If I’d had some extra bed sheets, I would’ve rappelled out of that second story window.
All is not lost, though, for I have found a few ways to stay motivated during the spring semester. As always, motivation (no matter what odd forms it comes in) is key.
First of all, keep in mind that classes can be fun. I know I’ve said it before in other posts, but I really mean it this time. When the weather’s nice, it’s easy to forget to focus on your professor while he/she is lecturing. But what you’re missing while your mind is somewhere else is either important, interesting, or both. If you approach your classes with the same open-minded attitude that you give them when the weather is bad, you might just forget about the sunshine altogether (for at least an hour, anyway).
Do your homework outside! Get your dose of nature and Vitamin D from reading, writing, or doing some equations outside. That’s one of the reasons I love living in LP; that patio is stellar. There are plenty of other places around LMU’s campus to sit and do your homework outside, though. You might even be inspired to be even more productive once the nice weather gets to you.
Secondly, to make the most of the gorgeous weather and time, plan time to be outside with your friends! LMU (like most campuses) has plenty of activities to do outside, from the volleyball courts to the hiking trails on campus and in the surrounding area. If you set aside time for outside activities, you’ll not only have something to look forward to, but knowing you’ll get to have some fun later can help get you through your classes. Personally, I look forward to walking down to the Gap on pretty days or sitting out on the quad reading or writing with my English major family. (Yes, we enjoy our homework!)
That being said though, don’t put off your school work: the faster you get it done, the faster you’ll be able to hang out. AND if you get your work done early, then you have room for spontaneity which is also healthy to spice up your routine. I usually save my homework for when the sun goes down, that way I won’t be so tempted to frolic out the door. I also usually take a lighter class load during the spring, which seems like the best choice if you can make it happen. Fewer hours means a little less work. I also try to take my classes earlier in the day in the spring so that I can have the afternoons to do whatever I want and won’t be stuck in class during the prettiest parts of the day.
Thinking of summer also helps me make it through the spring semester. I have a countdown app on my phone that tells me how many days I have until my last final is over. It also lists the days until my music festivals start! Planning is a good way to keep my mind off the pressure of school and to push me through the spring. Festivals are kind of like my light at the end of the tunnel, or a reward of sorts.
But remember, enjoy your classes and your time with your classmates and friends before the summer hits and you’re separated. It sounds sappy and cliche, but I’ll say it anyway: it’s all about the journey. It’s not about racing to a degree or to the summer. Your life’s going to be a lot better if you make the most of all your semesters. As a senior, I can say that this is something that I wish someone had told me my freshman year. I wish someone had mentioned how much I would actually enjoy my classes, and that I needed to find a balance between class and social life, especially during pretty weather. I wish someone had mentioned how much I would miss my college friends during the summer and that I needed to spend time with them during the semester, because a lot of them are hours away from me during May to August.