On Campus

Post exam blahs

My last exam was on the 19th, which was apparently five days ago.  I intended to get oh so much done as soon as my exams were out of the way.  You know, all that stuff that builds up and never manages to hit the priority list so long as there’s an exam or an assignment still due.  That includes getting back at this blog, among other things.  Now here I am five days later, and I’m just starting to scratch at that list.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what I’ve accomplished this week.  And maybe that’s okay.

One of the most interesting things I ever heard, on the subject of diet and exercise, is that starting a new program is easy, and even maintaining one isn’t that hard.  The real trick is knowing how to get back on the horse once you’ve missed a day, slacked off, broke your own rules and routine, and now you’ve somehow got to negotiate your way back in.  I think that advice is applicable to study habits and routines also.  When you’re in the zone it’s relatively easy to keep it up.  Then you lose it, for whatever reason, and it’s hard to get it back.  I’m thinking about that right now because that’s exactly the problem I’ve got.

I think the best way to deal with this is you’ve just got to let yourself off the hook sometimes, and not agonize over your failures or omissions, if they’ve occurred.  So you stayed out all weekend drinking when you bloody well knew you had to study?  Well, that’s going to happen sometimes.  You’ve got to stay sane as well as study.  Accept that it happened and study now instead.  Slept in and missed your first two classes of the day?  It would sure be easy to just stay at home now rather than crawl out of bed and get to school for the afternoon, but probably it’s the best thing for you to go anyway.  You’ll feel better getting to at least half your classes instead of none of them, even though you may feel like crap in the moment.

The holiday break is a time when a whole lot of students miss the mark in terms of their goals and intentions.  With several weeks to play with, students leave class with grand ideas about the amount of reading they will do over the holidays, or the assignments they intend to get done, or the preparation for classes that begin next term.  Then family, travel, friends, and holiday preparations of various sorts all intrude, and not nearly so much gets accomplished.  It would be a shame to go into next term with a sense of failure and dejection, just because your study plans for the holiday have failed.  Relaxation is important also.  Family is very important.  As long as you return to school in a good mental state that’s the best advantage you can give to yourself.  If you aren’t far ahead on your advance readings, well, so be it.

Set goals where appropriate, but give yourself permission to not meet them sometimes too.  Resolutions fall like ninepins around the holiday season.  Everyone is breaking their diets and their better habits and sleeping late and drinking too much.  And that’s just fine.  When you accept that it’s going to happen sometimes it becomes far easier to just brush it off and get down to work again when the time comes.  And that, after all, is the real trick.  Everyone falls off the horse sometimes.  It’s knowing how to get back on that’s going to make the difference.

Have a great holiday, y’all.