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OPINION: Mid-semester Schoolwork

Mary Lang, VOX Reporter

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The middle of the first semester is already here, but perhaps some of us are still getting used to the workload. Or maybe some of us can relate with the dreaded word burnout. Schoolwork can easily cause anxiety, sleep problems, and panic over crammed schedules. You might ask, “How in the world is it possible for me to get all this schoolwork done in 24 hours?!?” But please, say a quick prayer for peace. Don’t rip any garments or hair. Do throw out that schedule, and keep reading!

Here are some ways to decrease stress. Utilizing all of these tools at the same time is not required or even recommended, but keep them in mind and pull them out as needed.

 

  • Ask yourself, “What is my priority today?” At the beginning of the day, ask yourself, “What is my priority today? What is the most pressing assignment?” If it’s to read Herodotus for History class later that day, go read it and don’t feel guilty about not doing math. If your priority is an essay that’s due the next day, go write it. Don’t allow other small assignments to get in the way of the most pressing one; act in the moment and don’t allow future school to disturb you. Chances are that there will be two priorities for the day, but usually there won’t be more than that.
  • Try changing your routine. It might not be the amount of school that’s causing problems for you, but rather the time and/or place that your schoolwork is being completed. Think about the times and places that you’re studying in. Are you reading your Biology textbook in a busy area? That could cause problems with concentration. Are you getting enough sleep? If not, try getting to bed earlier. If you get to bed an hour earlier, you may be able to wake up more motivated and will get more work accomplished.
  • The schedule… Unless you are completely, without a doubt, entirely sure that an hour-by-hour schedule helps you, don’t use it. It’s probable that a strict schedule is doing the opposite of what you intend, and a schedule that’s able to be adopted to the quirks of everyday life will help you a lot more. So, instead of scheduling your day out by the hour, create a schedule that blocks entire parts of your day off. For example: School from 8am-3pm (breakfast and lunch within that time), break from 3-4:30pm, school until 6pm. Not only will that schedule be easier to remember, it will help you more.
  • Lost time? So, your schedule is made and you’re following it pretty well, but you’re not getting all your school done. What is going on? Well, one thing to think about is the amount of time that you spend doing extraneous things in between schoolwork. Getting on the computer in between working on a math lesson and and doing an essay can really hurt the amount of schoolwork that you’re able to accomplish. One thing to think about is to relegate the extraneous events during the day (such as reading novels, checking emails, etc) into your free time. Instead of checking your email after lunch, do it after you’re done with school for the day.
  • When the procrastination hits… Pray to procrastination’s patron saint, of course! That’s St. Expeditus, a martyr who lived during the 1300’s. It is said that God helps those who help themselves, however, and that’s why you need to get up and do your work as well as praying. Some helpful tips for beating procrastination follow.

 

      1. Create a habit of doing right in little things. It might sound odd, but even doing something like sacrificing a piece of candy that you really want can help to strengthen your will and therefore beat procrastination problems. However, make this practice a habit and not an exception!
      2. Reward yourself with something that makes you happy after you complete an assignment…but make sure that it’s after the assignment has been completed!
      3. Motivate yourself to JUST DO IT with your favorite quotes. Here’s a helpful one to get you started: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Lao Tzu
      4. Research other motivational tools. The ones in this article are by no means meant to be exhaustive, and if they don’t work for you, try someone else’s suggestions. The internet is a great place to find tips (but make sure that your parents look over the website first!).

 

  • Think good thoughts! If you don’t do anything else on this list of suggestions, please consider doing this. Positive thinking is incredibly helpful for both your state of mind and your grades. Here’s how to think positively: When you find yourself thinking a negative thought (“Oh no, I’m going to fail this test…I had so much trouble with the text and I have no idea what I’m doing”), stop and firmly change that negative thought around with a conscious positive thought (“I’m going to do great on this next test! I can do it and I will get a good score!”). It’s funny; even if you don’t think you believe your positive thought, you’ll feel empowered by it and chances are that you’ll do better on that upcoming test! Laugh and thank God for five things in your life every day!

 

Resources:

“Saints to know for daily dilemmas,” OSV Newsweekly. Craughwell, Thomas J. 14 November 2016. https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/8509/Saints-to-know-for-daily-dilemmas.aspx

“Lao Tzu.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2016. 14 November 2016. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/laotzu137141.html

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OPINION: Mid-semester Schoolwork