September 13, 2017

The fall brings pumpkin-scented candles, the transition from iced coffee to hot and the dreaded but somewhat thrilling wardrobe changeover. However, it’s also when the excitement of the new school year runs thin and, dare I say it, we find ourselves in a funk, especially in regards to academics.

Put on your best pair of comfy socks and settle in for eight tips to keep your momentum going after the first few weeks of the semester that will be sure to carry you through until winter break.

  1. Offer yourself incentives

It’s human nature to think, “What’s in it for me?” Maybe it’s as simple as allowing yourself to watch an episode of watching One Tree Hill before Netflix officially kicks it to the website streaming curb (R.I.P.). Or maybe you can tag along with your friends on a spontaneous Friday night outing. Ultimately, make a deal with yourself: “If I finish this, then I am allowed that.” Find your motivation to get your work done.

  1. Work on things one at a time and in shifts

I would highlight, bold, underline and italicize the skill “multi-tasking” on my resume if it was professionally appropriate. I will switch between three different assignments for three different classes while eating my quickly cooked dinner as I’m writing in my planner and answering texts. I’ve gotten good at it. My friends have too.

And while it’s great to be able to switch gears quickly and react in the moment to someone or something, multi-tasking can cause our work to suffer in quality and attention to detail. It’s the middle of the semester and grades are really starting to count. Every point is needed. So pick an assignment, get it done well, and move on to the next. Put your best effort into that one assignment instead of spreading yourself across five separate tasks. Your grades will thank me later.

  1. Leave your phone behind

This includes turning off the messages you receive on your laptop (nice try, though). You can also utilize the “Do Not Disturb” function on your mobile devices. This does two things: (1) it allows you to fully focus on your work/studying without getting distracted and (2) it provides you with a mental break from your phone. My friends who do this, continue to do it and even use their “Do Not Disturb” function for other times the of day just to get away and disconnect. Maybe they’re onto something?

  1. Take a workout (or a snack) break

Researchers found in a study done on older women at the University of British Columbia that aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, a portion of the brain associated with memory. Exercising also improves your mood while reducing stress and anxiety. Look at it this way, a quick run or walk around campus is cheaper than therapy!

Don’t forget to pack a few healthy snacks for your stay at the library. It will not only help you stay longer, because you won’t get hungry, but it’ll keep you from getting something unhealthy delivered to you. Check out this article on BuzzFeed for a list of power snacks perfect for studying.

  1. Know your end goal

Why are you studying? Why are you in college? Think about your end goal. Is it to get into dental school? To get that dream job working in fashion, music or architecture? Remind yourself what you are working towards. Sometimes we get so stuck in the present, we forget where we want to go. Make a vision board on Pinterest of your goals and dreams so when you lose sight of what you’re working towards, you can visit it and get your eye back on the prize.

  1. Write. Down. Everything.

Quizzes, tests, sorority chapter meetings, philanthropy events, intramurals, football games, parent’s weekends, etc. Have you ever forgotten a prior obligation or missed a deadline because you got swept up in the wave of stuff? Franklin Covey calls this the “whirlwind” and it’s very real.

To keep from getting swept away in the whirlwind, write down everything which as much detail as possible, even the little things. It takes it out of your head so you can focus on things in that moment instead of remembering everything. Take it day by day and refer to your planner or Notes app on what’s next. You can even schedule reminders if you need a nudge to make sure you don’t miss anything.

  1. Mark out tasks when they are completed

While a to-do list helps you visualize, it can also be very daunting. What’s great to accompany a to-do list is a list of things completed. It gives you confidence, motivation and reflects your productivity. Celebrate when you complete tasks and keep up the momentum. Remember that incentive from the up top? Yeah, that could fit in nicely here.

Now go get ‘em champ!

About Laryn Hilderbrandt:
Laryn is an Alpha Delta Pi and senior at Western Kentucky University studying public relations. Along with being a conference coordinator, she is currently her school’s Panhellenic President, a member of Order of Omega and Rho Lambda, and VP of Internships and Jobs for PRSSA. In her spare time, she enjoys staying up to date on everything pop culture, Facetiming her mom back home and trying new workouts.