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#HonorsProblems: Getting Back in the Groove

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Jonathan, a SEAS sophomore studying mechanical engineering.

While pleasant, my Christmas break was rather unproductive. Nearly every day of break followed this routine pretty closely, if not exactly:

I’d sleep in until around noon or 1, and lay in bed until I had the motivation to get out of bed. First, I would brush my teeth and go to the kitchen for some food. After breakfast, I’d consider doing something productive, like figuring out which courses I need to take abroad next fall or learning a software for the research project I’m helping out with. More days than not, I ended up doing none of those things and watched something on Netflix instead. At around 2, I’d head over to the gym because it gets busy after 4 when people start getting home from work. After that, I’d return home, shower, then unproductively spend another hour or two before eating dinner with my family. Lastly, I’d go hang out with some of my friends from home for a few hours before returning to my bed to restart the process.

While wildly unproductive, my break was very relaxing. That’s all I was really looking for anyway; to destress for a few weeks between semesters. The tricky part is shifting back to school-mode after a month of being a blob. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make sure you don’t get stuck in vacation-mode.

There is usually a lot of free time at the start of a semester, so finding a productive hobby you can do during that time can be quite beneficial. This will get you in the habit of making the most of your time, which will be essential later in the semester when the workload ramps up. I find going to the gym to be a good hobby for me, because I enjoy it and it keeps me healthy. There are tons of other productive activities you can fill your time with, and it is definitely worth looking into any that seem like a good fit for you. From being active in a student org to writing poetry, finding something other than partying, watching Netflix, or playing video games will make for a more engaging and productive semester.

Another way to get in gear for the semester is to stay ahead of your assignments. During the first month or so, this is not much to ask outside of the occasional paper or exam. Even still, I find it gives me peace of mind, as I do not have homework constantly hanging over my head. If you can keep a few days’ worth of breathing room between yourself and your school work until midterms, you will have a significant step-up over your classmates who have been hugging the deadlines all semester.

By setting good habits early in the semester, you will find your classes much more manageable.