Wesleyan’s winter break is just long enough that by the end of the five weeks, most students’ brains begin to atrophy. Without a constant onslaught of readings, problem sets, and assignments, even the most productive of us can’t help but forget how to “do school,” so the return to campus can be jarring. Never fear: The Argus has some tips to help you readjust to college life and make the most of the new semester.
1. Start your routine as soon as you can. The faster you get comfortable with your schedule and study habits, the better you’ll be able to manage your time and stay on top of work as it accumulates. It might seem like a great idea right now to roll out of bed a few minutes before your 1:10 p.m. class, but it’ll only leave you a zombie once your schedule demands that you get up at nine and behave like the driven student you’re supposed to be. That said…
2. Phase yourself in. Even if you’re one of the mythical few who had a productive winter break, chances are you’ve gotten used to a slightly slower-paced way of life. Nothing is more unsettling than trying to counteract that by immediately trying to do everything at once. The first week or so of the semester can act as a transition period: with no major assignments on the (immediate) horizon, what better time to sleep a little more, linger a little longer over meals, or slowly wean yourself off of the Internet addiction you developed over break?
3. Geek out over school supplies. Stock up on all the notebooks, planners, and sticky notes your heart desires, and promise yourself that this semester, you’ll actually use that label maker you bought as a prefrosh. Nothing says back to school like a brand new calendar or that super pack of Sharpies you’ve been coveting. Plus, labeling your books is one step closer to actually reading them.
4. Try something new! Whether you’re a new student or about to graduate, it’s never too late to get involved in a new activity. The drop/add period can extend beyond academics: you may find something you enjoy, whether you only do it once or end up getting more involved. Maybe you’ll find your calling in juggling or a cappella, or maybe you’ll find an activist group with which you never knew you identified—you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
5. Be realistic. When you haven’t yet been bombarded with school assignments, it’s easier to overload yourself and assume that your future self will be able to handle anything you throw in its path. Be conscious of what kind of commitments you’ll be able to handle in the months ahead, and remember to leave time for yourself. Chances are you won’t be able to juggle seven classes, a club sports team, a performance group, and a job—and even if you can make the time, you’ll likely spread yourself too thin to make any sort of valuable contribution.
6. Control yourself. Unless you’re miraculously immune to procrastination, you probably know how easy it is to go from checking Facebook for “just five minutes!” to reading a detailed conspiracy theory about leprechauns. Download an application like SelfControl or Freedom, which allow you to block access from certain sites.
7. Have fun! The most exciting part about coming back from a break is having a fresh chance to fill your time with people, classes, and activities you love. Enjoy it, and keep the Wesleyan magic alive!