Despite the numerous class cancellations and snow days, the 2015 Spring semester is officially in full effect. By now, we have all been introduced to our new set of group project members or began preparing for a very important test, quiz, or assignment.
The transition from that rather long, but appreciated, winter break to this, at often times, inconsistent spring semester can be very challenging. Nonetheless, it is imperative to stay motivated, finish strong, and do just as well, if not better, than the previous semester. In an effort to help do so, I composed some suggestions to stay on the right path and keep an optimistic mind as the academic year comes to a close and the long awaited summer approaches.
My first suggestion is give yourself something to look forward to. Providing something to serve as the light at the end of the tunnel is the first step in moving a little more efficiently all while keeping a clear and positive mind during the journey.
One idea is to apply for a job or internship for the summer. A task like this helps occupy your time when class may be cancelled or during the downtime that comes with a new semester. It is always good to be proactive and approach situations early on. By starting to apply now, you have more time to prepare and get ready for whatever position awaits you. In addition, it is a good feeling knowing you have a secure position waiting for you at the end of the year. Be proud, but humble and use one accomplishment like such to compel you to go achieve some more. [pullquote align=”center”]It is imperative to stay motivated, finish strong, and do just as well, if not better, than the previous semester.[/pullquote]
Considering spring break is just a few weeks away, another way to happily look towards the future is to make some plans to enjoy that time. Plan a trip, arrange some time to meet up with friends or family you haven’t seen in a while, or combine the two. Buying flight tickets 3-4 weeks in advance is the ideal time to do so and provides you enough time to take off work and gather your friends together. Having something like an exotic vacation to look forward to will most definitely keep you positive-minded as you await your departure date and will be a great rejuvenation for when you come back and have to finish the second half of the semester out.
In contrast to looking to the future, my next suggestion focuses more on the now, and requires you to invest some time into something of intangible value. Often times, we exhaust ourselves at our jobs and in classes to the point we forget to actually work for ourselves. Though it is important to perform well in both endeavors, it is also just as important to preserve some energy for other things that benefit you.
I suggest reading a new book or brushing up on a new language. Both are adequate forms of “self-education” and also increase personal and social fluency. Last year, around this time, I finished reading “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene and began reading “Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Both are greatly received bodies of work and very easy to find in our West Chester University library or at any other public library.
This year, I intend on diving into the Spanish language. There are so many opportunities to learn a foreign language offered to us, including the Language Lab in Mitchell Hall and the new smartphone app, “DuoLingo,” that I’m almost ashamed to admit I don’t know at least two languages by now.
Lastly, start the semester off right by utilizing your time well, which leads me to my final suggestion. Cut down on the amount of time you spend on social networks. Even if you choose to not deactivate your Instagram or Twitter accounts completely, at least take the app off of your phone for a week or two. Out of habit, we just scroll down our newsfeeds or timelines, viewing and consuming the daily lives of people we see everyday, celebrities, and utter strangers. Those seemingly meaningless moments add up and could be used on useful, productive tasks and activities. Trust me, you are not missing anything on Twitter.
I hope this list helps as we all refocus this semester, and I wish for a successful semester for all my West Chester University peers, as well other peers in academia throughout. If you have any tips or suggestions that I did not mention, please feel free to send them my way.
Shawn Trawick is a third-year student majoring in communication studies and political science. He can be reached at ST819517@wcupa.edu.