By Samantha Allan
We are officially in the last few weeks of the semester. Final projects, essays and assignments are piling in as a review of material. By now, you might be feeling a bit stressed out and overwhelmed with the thought of where and when to start. If you’re anything like me, there is a stack of to-do’s hanging beside my computer, waiting for attention.
You may be avoiding the work altogether, turning in half-finished documents or typing late into the night before a project is due. Now’s the time to stop the stress before it gets any further. Whatever excuse you may try to tell yourself, a procrastination paper is oftentimes not a great one.
While the feelings can be a lot to handle, try to avoid looking toward the end of classes. Once you start thinking about the end, it can be hard to focus on all of the assignments of the present. A summer night spent watching Netflix or hanging outside will be here soon enough.
Although the semester might be almost over, a lot of final points can add up together. This is why it is so important to reel it back. An end of semester funk can easily turn into a course flunk.
There are a number of different things you can do to combat the procrastination. So where should you start? In “5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Beat Procrastination,” Jessica Stillman suggests using the Zeigarnik effect to your advantage and starting out the work with something easy. (The Zeigarnik effect is a psychological response in which “unfinished tasks are more likely to get stuck in your memory. This is also why to-do list items continually pop up in your head until you write them down — a to-do list calms the Zeigarnik effect.”) Starting out with an easier assignment or paper can help ease your mind into the work ahead and remind your brain there is a lot of work to finish.
Another important tip is to be sure you are getting sleep. While it is often difficult to juggle everything with enough sleep, it is also hard to juggle it without. Lack of sleep interrupts focus, concentration and information processing. The all-nighter may seem like a great idea in theory, but realistically it is not a productive use of time.
A final way to fight out the semester funk is to remind yourself why you are in school in the first place. Instead of focusing on the amount of work ahead, try reminding yourself what career you are aiming for. It can be a lot easier to finish a job when the purpose behind it is clear.
I know the next couple weeks will be rough, but you can definitely get through it. Remind yourself why you are in school and of all the great summer activities to look forward to. Support yourself and your friends, and the semester will be over a lot faster than you think.