Tips on Avoiding Spring Inactivity
April 1, 2016
By Kendall MacVean
Spring is almost upon us. A season of blooming flowers, budding trees, and withering school aspirations and motivations. The weather is blossoming into spring, and suddenly we can see the sun again. I know you’ve missed it; maybe you have even forgotten what it feels like to roll your windows down and feel a breeze that doesn’t make your teeth chatter. You can finally feel the soft warmth of the sun on your skin (and feel as it slowly turns to sunburn). Spring is the season of school-based inactivity as the outdoors call to us and homework does not. We are post-spring break and pre-graduation/summer, and inactivity is coming. Boone has finally opened up its gloomy clouds and pushed away all the dingy fog until, at last, there is sunshine, and how can you possibly be expected to write a paper on Shakespearean analysis in the fluorescents of the library when you could be learning to slackline on Sanford mall or sunbathing on your porch or driving with the windows down to get Kilwin’s ice cream in Blowing Rock?
Here it is, the big dilemma. Spring approaches and your ability to concentrate and willingness to go to class and finish your homework retreats. Suddenly, you’re staring out windows and wearing shorts, and you’ve forgotten all about that report on global warming. It’s a dangerous time for us all as our priorities begin to shift and swimming in waterfalls seems like the better option in most situations. I’m here to caution you against the spring temptations and to convince you to stay strong. You’ve got a whole half of a semester left, and rather than slog through it, homework glaring you down with its immensity, I have some tips to offer to help you survive and enjoy yourself in the meantime.
- Having trouble going to class when you could be lying out on Sanford mall, working on that tan? Remember, learning happens outdoors, too. Try talking to your professors and plan outdoor class days. Most professors are just as eager as you are to get some fresh air and sunshine, so they are usually receptive to holding class outside every once in awhile. Find a nice grassy spot to circle up, crisscross applesauce, and have a class lesson. All subjects are more interesting when they are outdoors, and you can make daisy chains while discussing economics.
- Take your work outside, and get it done there. Reading has the magical ability to happen almost anywhere. Take your articles, novels, and assigned reading to Sanford Mall, your porch, or even the parkway and enjoy yourself. Read while you stretch out in tall grass. Read while you can feel the breeze on your neck and sun on your arms. You can even bring friends and allow yourself short breaks to get up and walk around, hula-hoop, or people watch before settling back into your reading.
- Always reward yourself. Homework is hard work, and getting it done is a challenge most days. Treat yourself for a job well done. For every hour of work that you accomplish, take thirty minutes to yourself. Have a drink on the lawn, eat a snack on the porch, take a walk, take a drive, talk to a friend, or take a nap. It doesn’t matter as long as you get your mind off work and take a little breather. Having a reward is something to look forward to, something to propel you through your work. Be strict with yourself, though, and don’t allow yourself surprise two or three hour breaks.
- Section out a time of the day to work that isn’t during prime outdoor frolicking time. Either the nighttime or the mornings are good options. If all you can think about during the day is the great outdoors and soaking up the sunny mountain majesty, then relegate the mornings or evenings to getting things done. Saving these times of the day, when your outdoor activities are limited, for homework will help you focus and avoid the temptation to indulge in nature. Make sure that you still manage your time well, and don’t condemn yourself to all-nighters and rushed mornings to finish your work.
- Eat chocolate! After all, chocolate makes everything better, especially when it’s shaped like Easter eggs and shamrocks.
- Avoid that spring fever by setting some deadlines for yourself and making an appointment at the University Writing Center. Nothing helps to keep you focused more than a helpful consultant looking over your work with you after you’ve scheduled a time to stop, breathe, and get back to work. Write a draft of that pesky paper on Sanford Mall and visit the UWC before you reward yourself with that nap in the sun, and you can rest happy knowing you received support and advice from a writing consultant.