The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Boy Meets Girl: Breaks Essential for Relieving School Pressures

4 min read


We’re halfway done with the spring semester. What does that mean? Well, it means that all those papers and projects you’ve put off are going to be due before you know it. But remember that it’s important to rise up from the depths of the library every now and then to take a breather from all of your research and typing. Here are a few simple tricks to help you survive due date insanity.

BAM: Take a walk. We’re situated in a beautiful, scenic area. The campus has plenty of secluded places where you can just “be” and not have to worry about anyone or anything. Alternatively, head downtown to see the sights. The small-town historic feel is both appealing and relaxing. With the weather getting warmer, you have no reason not to get out and about! And for those of you cave dwellers like myself that like it cold, crank up your fans and AC units to create your own alpine paradise.

KED: I’m not a cold weather person at all. For the first time in what feels like forever, I’m not freezing every time I walk outside. With it being warmer, I have more of a desire to get out and just sit on a bench and read, or to take out an old towel and sprawl out on the lawn. But if the outdoors isn’t really your thing, there are always study rooms. Change up your chosen four walls.

BAM: You don’t have to feel imprisoned by those walls though! Make your space more conducive to fit your ideal creative atmosphere. Turn on some music or the TV if you need background noise. Also, a break can actually be extremely helpful to the writing process. I am a firm believer that your brain has an expiration date. If you work too hard at something for too long, it is bound to stagnate. Do something totally different or work on another assignment to switch gears and rejuvenate your mind. Then you can return to your original project with a refreshed fervor. You will find you are able to notice more mistakes and make an essay flow better once you have given it time to marinate before turning it in.

KED: Do not let yourself get too far behind! Procrastination might give you a few minutes now, but will only drag out the whole process later. Plus, if you start earlier, you will finish sooner and be better prepared, setting yourself up for a greater reward. If you feel you have missed something you need for a project, test, etc. see if you can sit in on a different class section. Alternatively, if you need a total break from your current task, see if you can sit in on a class in a subject you like. For instance, if you’re writing a long paper for an English class, see if you can sit in on an Art History class for the fun of it!

BAM: Procrastination is going to be your greatest enemy now, so make sure you keep an eye on how long your breaks are. If you’re reading this and have something major due in a month, start it now. You will be doing yourself a favor. It is so much easier to break work down into smaller, more digestible bites than to get completely overwhelmed all at once later. You can only blame yourself if you get bogged down because you chose to wait.

KED: One of my favorite ways to get away is by taking a nap. Naps are not just for little kids anymore, and they always help me to hit a project with much-needed energy. If you are going to nap, though, make sure that it’s not for a long time, or you will wake up sleepier and less inclined to work. Also, make sure you set that alarm clock and actually get up when it goes off. If you can’t take your mind off of the project, trying to fall asleep might not be the best idea. Only take a nap when it is most useful for you to do so.

BAM: If you are like me, sometimes you’re just too awake during the day to ever take a nap. That’s when, instead of turning off, I simply slow down. Try watching TV for half an hour. Check your e-mail. Surf the Internet. Do something you love.

KED: Take out a coloring book and some crayons. Go back to finger painting. Anything. Not only do you get some cool new artwork for your room or to give to a friend, but also you get to express yourself and release your anger and frustration in a more positive way than, let’s say, punching a door. If you don’t have anything to color with or on, print out a page from a Web site and use colored pens instead!

Well, there you have it—how to survive the deadline crunch. In all honesty, it all comes down to time management. It is so vital that it is arguably your most valuable skill as a college student, and it’s one you need to learn if you haven’t mastered it already. Try to spread things out so you don’t get too overwhelmed, and take breaks every now and then to avoid getting too weighed down. Now get to work!

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