The first couple weeks of a new semester are like the first weeks of a new relationship. The feelings that everything is perfect and that nothing can ever go awry gleefully disillusion our minds. We keep saying things to ourselves like “this thing is easier than I thought,” and prematurely planning joyful journeys for the future. Every day is sunny and beautiful. But then, all at once, it hits us: the realization that this thing is actually a lot harder than we thought. The clouds hide the sky and the cool breeze is finally noticed as we recognize that every class isn’t going to get out thirty minutes early and that all assignments can’t be accomplished a few minutes before the beginning of entering the room. We discover that they hate our favorite movie and that they make a really annoying noise when eating spaghetti. The honeymoon is over. Luckily, we’ve compiled a few steps from experience for how to rally from this moment and make the best out of the semester.
Step 1: Complain
Some call it venting, some call it flaring up, many call it annoying, but it must be done. Get out the frustration and direct it towards someone who understands your situation. Usually, this is a fellow classmate or an old friend that won’t send you to the crazy house. Complain about the absurd amount of readings that are assigned, about the professor who is always one class behind because of his pointless sidebars, about the lack of time given to complete the recently assigned paper. Don’t hold back!
Step 2: Exercise
Once you have successfully gotten off your negativity horse, take a walk, or a run, or a bike ride. Enjoy the fresh air going into and coming out of your body. Listen to your favorite band. Look around and appreciate the scenery of where you are going to be spending your next semester. Realize how truly blessed you are to be in this position and in this place. Take these precious moments to relax and let your course workload escape to the farthest depths of your mind.
Step 3: Get an Ice Cream Cone
Because we all love ice cream and, let’s be honest, you deserve it.
Step 4: Get to Work
Difficult tasks often seem impossible until we start. Break down the readings into smaller sections that are manageable to do in a session at the library. It might take the whole night, and you might have to miss that movie or game that was enjoyed in the first couple weeks, but you’ll be that much closer to finishing. Achieving a daunting challenge is actually quite a satisfying moment and should provide for a good night’s sleep. Remember what the marathon runner John Bingham once stated, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
So complain, then exercise, then eat, then work and you will be on your way before you know it! As for that new relationship, try TV shows and ravioli.
By Matthew Doyen