Spring Semester Thoughts and Tips

Now that we’ve had another break and are settling in to our spring classes, I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts on what I do to adjust to a busier lifestyle after each academic downtime. You know how it is–break comes, we have all these plans to read our research materials, visit with family and friends, and organize our study spaces. But, if you are anything like me, I spend the first two days wandering around my apartment and inside my head, trying to figure out exactly how to structure my life for a few weeks. Graduate school is intense at any level, and I know when I don’t have pressing deadlines and meetings hanging over my head, I feel a little lost for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have the break, but I’m so productive during the semester in comparison that I always feel disjointed and even somewhat guilty for being so “lazy” for the first few days of a break.

Then, reality of my free time hits and I’m off and running. To be honest, however, I only get about half of my “break to-do” list completed before I realize that the next semester starts in a few days. You know that feeling–panicking in my head over the “should-haves” instead of appreciating the “what-happened”. And before I know it, the weight of a new semester re-settles on my shoulders and that to-do list now becomes a Spring Break list lol.

You know what, though? It’s all good. What used to stress me out so strongly has become a way of life for me. Regardless of whether I’m working on my academic responsibilities or on my life outside of my studies, I have learned this one thing: Some way or the other, it will get done. Maybe not on my expected time frame, but when push comes to shove, I will accomplish what is needed. I have made it this far, one step at a time, and I will continue to work my way through it, one step and day at a time.

So, as far as adjusting to a busier life after each break, I have learned to take time for me outside of academia. Whether that is to take an hour or two to sort out my bedroom–which, trust me, can easily become a mountain of books and papers–to go to a movie on campus or at a public theater, or to exercise. If given a choice, personally I like to exercise the most, as it helps elevate my mood and ensures I will still fit into my clothes lol, but not all the time. Sometimes I just like to sit and watch a show that has little to do with what I am researching. In my opinion, I am always learning, no matter what I chose to view, and since learning makes me happy, then movies are justifiable. I am very introverted and don’t need much social time, but I can truthfully attest that spending time with others doing what makes you happy is one of the most productive ways academics re-coup and re-center.

Basically, nothing I’ve said is what you probably don’t already know, but it is so easy for us to forget. Take time for yourself. Be patient with yourself. And above all, put yourself first. You’re the only You you have:)

Love and Peace,

Amy Aiyegbusi