It was great six-week break, even if Netflix and Doritos were your best friend for the most part. But it’s about time to go back to college and do college stuff and be kind of an adult for the next 15 weeks. Heaven help us all. No matter what you did over the winter break, you might long a little (or a lot) for those days of relaxation. Simply put, you’re just not ready to deal with dorm life, classes, and deadlines again and that’s okay. Adjusting to a new semester is rarely ever easy for anyone — whether it’s your first semester of college or your eighth. I know a lot of people tell me that their winter break made them accustomed to not doing much and it’s going to be really hard to get back into a demanding routine. Been there, done that! But here are my tips for never going back…
1. Meet up with friends ASAP.
I’ll be honest here. I sometimes have those moments when I want to socialize with everyone and those moments when I don’t feel like talking to anyone and just want to get right down to what I have to do. More often than not, the start of my semesters have been full of me not really feeling like hanging with people. But seeing people and catching up with friends from the semester before makes things a lot easier because you feel like you have people going through the same things as you. No one is particularly thrilled to go back to all-nighters and homework up to their ears, but at least you can all grab coffee and nervously laugh about those impending moments together! If you can schedule even just 30 minutes for a quick breakfast with a friend or two, your mood will definitely improve.
2. Visit old professors you were close to.
Even just stopping by for a quick ‘hi’ can help greatly. Hold onto any connections you made with professors from the previous semester. This is a great time to make small talk and chat about the weather because you aren’t as busy, and if you’re feeling unsure about the semester that lies ahead, your old professor might be able to help encourage you and soothe some worries by offering advice and resources. A lot of people think that networking starts after you leave college, but the truth is that it starts the minute your freshman self sets foot on campus. You never know what kind of information you can get out of your professors.
3. Make an effort to go out.
I know it’s January and snuggling up to hot chocolate indoors can feel very tempting, but also be sure to leave the room once in a while and see what’s happening on campus. The flood of emails about welcome back parties and events may be a bit overwhelming, but go through them and see which events stick out to you the most. Don’t forget about your college involvement fair! This is also a great opportunity to see what clubs and organizations are out there. Also, despite what many people may think, it’s never too late to want to get involved on campus. I’m a second semester junior and I still get excited for involvement fairs because every organization is a new chance to get involved with campus in a new way and meet a ton of new people.
4. Create to-do lists.
This is one of the easiest ways to get back into the swing of things if you feel you’ve gotten a bit lazy over the break. I always say that I live by to-do lists because they’re a quick and easy way to get all the obligations running through your mind down on paper so you can tackle them in a more organized fashion. You may have 10 different syllabi to print out, homework on the first day, textbooks to purchase, and a host of other things to do, and writing them all down on paper will make it much easier to keep track of what you still need to do.
5. Busy yourself up.
Sometimes you might feel like the beginning of your semester is light and you have ample free time to chill. WARNING: Moments like these can also be rare and dangerous. Be aware that this can also contribute to feelings of laziness. I’m not saying that you should pile the obligations of the world onto your shoulders, but adding extracurriculars, a job, or an internship to your schedule can certainly help with time management because you’ll have less time to feel lazy. I find that when I’m less busy is actually when I burn myself out because I have fewer experiences to learn from and motivate me. I’m definitely still looking around for an on-campus job and keeping an eye out for an extracurricular or two that I can join. As always, be careful to not bite off more than you can chew. Everyone’s balance is different, so be able to know when you’ve made yourself TOO busy.
6. Set goals.
Where do you want to be in two weeks? In one month? By spring break? These don’t have to be long term goals, and they also don’t have to be related to academics. Maybe your goal is to go to the gym at least four times a week *cough* my goal *cough*. Maybe you have a secret life as an aspiring author and your goal is to write 25 pages a week for the book you’re working on. Maybe you just want to get back on track with viciously reading books and you want to start a new book every two weeks. Every goal counts!
7. Dream about spring break plans.
Well, this may not sound like a good idea because you’ll probably get sad that spring break feels like it’s never going to come, BUT you can also use it as a motivator to keep putting your best foot forward. You’ll earn a much-needed break and you’ll get to enjoy it no matter what your plans are — whether you’re hitting up Miami with your squad or planning an entire week of adventures in the city with your best friend.
How do you get over the winter break blues?