Reading Week guilt

By Lucy Mackrell, 3rd-year Global Development major

As Reading week drew to a close, I was plagued by the feeling so common to students coming back to campus after the break – Guilt. I only got this much work done, I should have finished that essay, I should not have spent so many days “doing nothing” etc. Dwelling on this is such an easy trap to fall into, which in turn decreases your current productivity and needlessly adds to your stress levels. Here are four ways that I like to productively combat this feeling of guilt:

1. Express your gratitude. I know that personally I don’t stop and think about what happened during reading week that I am grateful for – I got to spend time with my best friend, I was able to sleep in, I had the time to exercise and I found a great new playlist. All of these things have enriched my life, maybe not my school work, but every now and then you have to stop and remind yourself that you are more than just your academics.

2. Focusing on what you can do NOW. Rather than focusing upon the point you wish you were at, take stock of everything that you have left to do. A great way to do this is making a full semester reading, assignment and general to-do list. Yes, it can be a tad overwhelming, but it also forces you to be organized for the rest of the term. Depending upon whether you like to have every minute of your day planned out, or whether you prefer to just have a loose idea of what needs to be accomplished, there is a type of organizer out there for you. Personally, I like having every minute planned; in my agenda I have a weekly set schedule with classes etc., a monthly calendar with due dates and special events, a reading list with all of the readings I need to do for each class all semester and then a weekly agenda, with room to include daily to-do lists and plans. From looking at all of these lists, I can plan out each day so I make the best use of my time and ensure that I get everything done!

3. Learn from the experience. Was there a specific reason that you didn’t get much work done? Finding this reason and using it to strategize on how to become more productive will help your study habits in the future. Whether you will use this new strategy next reading week, during exams or even in terms of balancing during the year, it is so important to understand your own learning style. If you would like to talk to someone about these specific strategies, come to Study Skills Coaching in Stauffer library every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Rm. 143 in Stauffer Library!

4. Taking care of yourself has to be your first priority, especially taking time to re-charge after a stressful time. Going into reading week I was drained and exhausted, after taking the time to relax I feel so much better and ready to face the rest of the semester. Hopefully you do too!

Photo courtesy of Simon Cocks under Flickr Creative Commons license.