As I write this blog post, I’m in the sweet spot just after reading week. I’m feeling plenty relaxed—and thank goodness for that, because by the time reading week came around this semester, I needed a break. I know I wasn’t the only one, too. All around me, people were talking about how they felt tired or less motivated than usual. For me, this may be because I’m in my last semester of undergrad, or because the winter seems to have gone on forever (and ever, and ever). Whatever the reason, I definitely needed some time off.
As for how I’m going to keep up my motivation in this last half of term, I’m reinstituting the 8:30 to 4:30 rule. In first year, I had a professor tell us about a student of his who would start his schoolwork at 8:30 am, with a hard stop at 4:30 pm. He treated his courses like a day job, and it seems to have helped in terms of finding a balance between school and life. I was really good (if I do say so myself) at sticking to this rule in first and second year, but the last couple of years, I’ve found myself working at odd hours, sometimes for waaaaaay less, and sometimes for waaaaaay more, than 8 hours a day.
I recently ran into a friend who told me that they still stick to the 8:30 to 4:30 rule, and I was motivated to try it again. I started back up just before the reading break. I’m hoping that continuing with this strategy will help me feel a little less overwhelmed in the last half of the semester. And though I totally get that an 8:30 wake up is early, it might be worth a shot if you are feeling worn down by the winter semester too.
Also, remember those timers I was going to set so I would stop and start working with regular breaks? At the beginning of the year, I wrote in my blog about how I would time myself doing various readings or assignments, so that I wouldn’t spend too much time on smaller tasks. Lately, I found myself stopping the timer after it goes off, and then continuing to work—even if I knew I could stop. This blog post is a good reminder to myself (and maybe you, too) that those extra hours that you spend on a smaller assignment might not be worth it in the long run. It’s important to save your mental energy for the bigger assignments, especially as we come up on the end of term. As my parents reminded me just the other day: school is a marathon, not a sprint.
Speaking of my parents, I was lucky to be at home with them over the reading week. I realised while eating their homemade spaghetti bolognese that I haven’t been cooking as much as I usually do in my student house. While there’s no way I’ll have time to cook a bolognese from scratch during the week, I spent some time over the reading break making a list of recipes I know I want to cook (or cook again) this semester. Here are some of my favourites:
- Pesto from Epicurious (it looks a little complicated, but I promise it’s only 20 or so minutes of actual cooking!)
- Cauliflower tacos from Half Baked Harvest
- And the classic: breakfast for dinner. My favourite combination being sweet potatoes and fried eggs :)
Here’s hoping these will give me the energy I need to finish the winter semester with a bang!
See you soon!