By Colton Hattersley
We are about halfway through the spring semester.
For those of you who have been through college for more than a year, you know that we are in the midst of midterms. For those of you who are freshmen, you realize that this semester is slightly different than the fall. Both groups are likely experiencing some stress and sleep deprivation, which has become a norm in the typical college experience (especially at UT Dallas). But fear not, dear students, for there are some sure-fire ways to ensure that, when Spring Break comes around, you will NOT be “Spring Broken.”
As someone who keeps incredibly busy during any given semester, I recognize firsthand that there is not enough time in a day to get things done. On the other hand, I’ll also be the first to admit that there is an importance to preserving one’s sanity in the midst of exams, projects, and extracurricular activities. Here are a few of my tips for how to avoid over-working yourself and having to spend your Spring Break asleep:
- Social Interaction.
Social interaction can be time consuming, but is crucial to optimal physical and mental health. Even if you don’t have enough time to go see a movie or play video-games with a friend, plan to meet up with a group of people to eat a meal together, or even to study together. Having others around helps ensure that you aren’t holed up in your dorm room or apartment for too long, and the comfort of friends or loved ones can add a dash of fun and happiness to a day that would otherwise be bogged down with reading hundreds of pages or writing essays.
Anyone who knows me is probably laughing right now. I’m not the healthiest person, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that exercise is a helpful way to destress or just relax. For those of you who are gym-savvy, take an hour out of your day to go walk on the treadmill or lift weights. For those of you who are not (like me), go for a walk. Ride a bike. Spending even a half hour outside can be incredibly soothing, especially if the weather is as nice as we’ve been seeing lately (with the exception of the super rainy days, of course). If the weather is less than ideal, even walking around the residence hall or through the different buildings on campus can give you a sense of reprieve.
- Video Breaks.
This may seem silly, but I find it incredibly helpful to plan some video breaks in advance while studying or writing. What do I mean by this? Think of a reward system. For every hour of studying, allow yourself 15 minutes of watching funny videos on YouTube. For every five pages of that huge paper you have to write, allow yourself to watch one episode of How to Get Away with Murder. Allowing you to disassociate yourself from the various academic topics that are cycling through your head will ultimately help you – both in the mental/physical health sense, and the quality of your work as well. A stress-free mind is one that does good work.
- Choose Sleep. Every Time.
We’ve all had those days where we choose the assignment that we procrastinated on over getting the seven to nine hours of sleep that doctors recommend we get a night. While our academics are incredibly important, getting sleep is equally (if not MORE) important. Make sure that you plan ahead so that you have enough time to get things done – do not procrastinate to the point where you miss out on multiple days of sleep, or fall behind in your work. Otherwise, you may be spending your Spring Break asleep instead of soaking up the sun and having fun.
All in all, these steps are things that might not work for you. Not all people are fans of YouTube or Netflix, and some people would really rather keep to themselves. What’s important here isn’t that you follow the plan that works for me, but rather that you formulate your own plan. At the end of the day, we all want to be able to enjoy our Spring Breaks, so take care of yourselves, and make sure that you don’t end up Spring Broken.