Thursday, December 8, 2016

Just Keep Swimming: Advice on Staying Motivated in the Homestretch

We are officially in my least favorite part of the school year: the weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break. With a taste of vacation fresh in our memories, the thought of returning to schoolwork before we have four weeks of uninterrupted couch-sitting is a real dream-killer. As the title of this post suggests, my SWUG-ness has reached an all-time high, and I'm finding it more difficult than ever to stay on top of my game as the semester grinds to a halt. But, since I'm the one with the blog password, I have to keep my motivation levels at least above minimal, for everyone reading this as well as for myself. From a now-seasoned college student, here are a few of my tips for staying strong in the weeks ahead:

Keep focused. I know how hard it is to stay motivated in the last weeks of the semester. Being in my seventh round, sometimes I feel more ready than anyone to just give up and let finals happen. But the one thing that keeps me going through times like these is the thought that when it's all over, I'll be able to go home and do what I want to do for four whole weeks - no homework, no papers, no responsibilities. But this is a reward, and it must be earned. So just get through it - we're all right there with you.

Prioritize your well-being and happiness. Short, cold days + finals-week homework + finding time for clubs, jobs, and friends = stress. There's no doubt that lots of Tufts students will be reaching for their squishy balls in the weeks ahead as work and stress pile on. But we all know that this is ridiculously unhealthy, and that nothing should come before our personal happiness, right? Right?? Whenever someone asks me how I de-stress, I always tell them that I take lots and lots of breaks. Not only do they recharge your brain for its next cram session, breaks also keep you from getting overwhelmed and exhausted, things we definitely want to avoid right now (and hopefully always). Whether it's a 4-minute dance party in your room (I'm a big proponent of these, personally - I have a playlist on my phone called Dance It Out) or a mindfulness workshop for the Senior Launch Lunch Series, be sure to take a break before winter break!

Start planning your winter break. At this point in the semester, winter break is a lot like the North Pole for me: rumored to exist, most likely very cold, but I would go there even if it meant eating nothing but whale blubber the entire time. While my break will definitely contain copious amounts of Netflix and curling up with my dog on the couch, I'm also going to try to get a few productive days in. At least two of those days will be at the upcoming CIC Career Fairs, which are happening in New York City, DC, and Boston - if you're going to the NYC or Boston fairs, you can catch me sweating in a business suit.

Or check out the Career Center's "Winter Guides", custom tips and advice for first-years, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and grad students! This advice doesn't only apply to career planning - map out a weekend trip with your best friend from home, or plan to reconnect with someone you lost touch with while you'll be in town. Planning a fun outing makes for a great study break!

Alright kids, it's time to get off the Internet and get to work, for you and me both. The next few weeks will be tough, but you've overcome academic challenges before and come out on the other side with at least one college acceptance letter, so I have faith in you. If you see me around campus, be sure to (a) look beyond my sweatpants and generally unkempt appearance and focus on my sparkling personality, and (b) remember this post, and that we're all going through it together, but it'll be over soon. Take care of yourselves and each other, and I'll see you on the other side.

Until next time,
Sean Boyden
Class of 2017