It’s hard to believe that half of a school year has come and gone. Perhaps you’ve only just completed your first semester of college, or maybe this will be your last one at the University of Wisconsin. Wherever you’re at, the beginning of the second semester is a growing point for everyone.
I don’t think I’m the only one who has found it incredibly challenging to make successful changes to your busy campus lifestyle. I’ve been guilty of making plenty of hefty promises to myself like “I’m going to get into the gym at least four times a week this semester,” or “I’m not going to skip lectures on Friday mornings,” only to find myself breaking those promises only a few weeks into the semester. When we falter at achieving perfection, we make ourselves feel worse about our abilities and are more prone to giving up. At the beginning of this new decade, here are some ways to feel more productive and less stressed while we cruise through the inevitably not-so-perfect second semester months.
Recognize your regrets and your successes!
It seems simple, but being mindful about what it is you want to do differently can serve as a reminder to get back on track when you feel yourself slipping. Do you feel like this class might be harder than you expected? Remember your creative note-taking from last semester and use those skills. Are you finding yourself skipping 9:55 a.m. lecture too many times in a row? Make it a priority to go to that class next week by going to bed early and drinking a coffee to energize yourself. Most importantly, remember it’s only 50 minutes of your life. We aren’t striving for perfection here, but we can still make a conscious effort to fix the mistakes we have made in the past.
Take a risk and do something you’ve never done before.
The hardest thing about doing something different is bringing yourself to start. Think of things you wanted to do in the fall but never got around to doing so. Did you want to join an intramural sports team? Go see a women’s volleyball game? Hold a consistent workout schedule? You don’t need to worry about signing up for 10 different clubs at the Org Fair just to prove to yourself that you’re making an effort to try something new, but when the opportunity presents itself, don’t overthink it! Just do it!
You don’t need to “earn” a break for yourself.
As the Italian character Luca Spaghetti says in the movie “Eat Pray Love,” “Americans! You work too hard. You get burned out. Then you come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the TV.” This sounds pretty accurate, doesn’t it? Let’s take an Italian mindset this semester and not wait to be told we have earned a break. Let yourself enjoy some small pleasures. Make time to grab a drink and catch up with friends, take a walk on the snowy lakefront or go to a women’s hockey game before their season is over — you DO deserve it!
So, how are you going to make the most of spring semester 2020?