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Winter Blues: You Can Survive the Rest of the Semester

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Workers and students are afflicted with the Sunday night blues on a regular basis. Friday afternoon seems like weeks ago, and the weekend passed way too quickly! Going back to work or school after a long weekend or a mini-vacation—like Thanksgiving Break—is even harder to deal with, especially if you spent time with family and friends that you don’t get to see very often.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you’re back to college or heading there shortly, going to class, studying, doing homework and taking exams is probably the last thing you feel like doing, even if you generally enjoy school and seeing your friends.

It may sound like advice from your grandmother, but keep your chin up! If you have papers due and finals to prepare for, the end of the semester will be stressful, but “this too shall pass.” Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying winter break with your friends and family.

Here are five ways to help yourself survive til the end:

1. Create a master to-do list.

Whether you decide to break out a white board and dry erase markers or create an Excel spreadsheet, make a master to-do list of everything you need to accomplish by the end of the semester. Not quite sure? Gather your notebooks and the syllabus for every class you’re taking, and figure out what is due when. In addition to listing obvious big-ticket items like lectures and classes, term papers, and final exams, allot time for study groups and library time. If you have a part-time job, make sure you actually have enough time to work, and don’t forget that you need time to sleep.

2. Sleep!

That’s right, sleep! You’ll probably be tempted to pull a few all-nighters during the last few weeks of the semester. After all, the campus is already full of bleary-eyed, barely-awake undergrads, so you’ll blend right in. First things first—this is not a good idea! Aim for a minimum of six to seven hours of sleep each night, or there’s a great chance you’ll turn in half-hearted work and fail or accidentally sleep through your exams.

3. Keep yourself in check.

Your to-do list won’t do you any good if you don’t follow it on a daily basis. Cross things off once they have been accomplished and make sure you’re staying on target. It may be a good idea to break tasks down into smaller, more manageable goals. Got two separate 10-page term papers to write? There’s no way you can get them both finished in two days. Calculate what needs to be finished by what date, or you’re just setting yourself up for a procrastination disaster.

4. Stay healthy.

In addition to getting enough sleep, take basic health precautions like washing your hands often and brushing your teeth at least twice per day. Cold and flu spread like wildfire during the colder months, especially in workplaces and schools, where people spend a lot of time together in close quarters.

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Even if your ultimate goal is a 4.0 this semester, realize that you’re only human and humans just aren’t perfect. Your life should be a blend of school, work, friends and family. Chances are, your future employer really won’t care—or even know—that you earned a B instead of an A in your freshman history class. If you gave one hundred percent, then you gave it your all. And that’s what matters.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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