For many reasons — the cold, course selection, capstones, senior research, the cold, lack of sunlight, cabin fever and the cold — winter term always seems to be the most difficult for students. Spring break offers some respite, but this year, the start of spring term still looks and feels a lot like winter. So here are five ways to keep your mind and body on the sunny side.
1. Take advantage of free time.
The start of a new term usually brings an initially lighter course load. Seize the extra time you have now to get on top of things and get ahead. This also means you can afford to do work over coffee with a friend or after dinner while watching a movie. Since there’s no need to hit the books too hard just yet, focus on making homework and study time as enjoyable as possible.
2. Plan a new exercise routine.
Whatever your fitness level, it is proven that some daily exercise will improve your mood. This doesn’t have to include weights and a treadmill. Try an intramural sport or start some pickup games with friends. Terp just released this term’s schedule of dance classes. Go to Ballroom Club. Take a walk. Hit up the Knox County Humane Society and walk a dog or two. Whatever you do, commit to it as a regular plan so you have a built-in stress reliever even when the term gets tougher.
3. Make a new study playlist.
Even if you love the songs you listened to while studying last term, hearing them again might take you back to that cold and stressful place. Change things up a bit by looking for some new tunes. Ask friends if they want to swap mix CDs. WVKC’s music library is open to borrowers and has an eclectic collection in addition to Top 40 favorites. Find a new jam that will carry you through that final paper.
4. Figure out summer plans.
Whether you’re already settled in an internship or job, or still waiting for news, settle your plans for summer now while there’s time to think about something other than midterms and finals. Summer Richter Grant applications are due April 8 if you need some extra financial help for academic summer plans. Buy train and plane tickets now before prices go up. Find out when you’ll have time to visit friends and family. Book tickets to a concert or baseball game.
5. Do some spring cleaning.
Take some time to go through your clothing and other belongings. Before you hit up Target, Goodwill or an online store, donate the things you don’t wear or use anymore. The Purple Hanger is a short walk from campus and the Free Store is even closer, located in the Quads. Start a give-away bin in your suite common area. Reducing clutter is linked to reducing stress so be proactive before the stress begins.