Opinion: How to get through the rest of the semester

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at cbuccier@kent.edu.

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Christina Bucciere

As the semester winds down, I am finding it harder and harder to find any motivation to complete my final projects, study for my remaining tests and be engaged in class at all. I have noticed some of my peers are beginning to feel the same way. I’ve even heard professors lament about the final few weeks. However, when we are drained of motivation, there are a few things we can do to push ourselves those last few feet to the finish line.

First, don’t procrastinate.

As I write this, I am feeling the shame of being a total hypocrite considering I have waited to start a paper until the day before it’s due, at least I realize my mistake, right?

I’ll admit that sometimes procrastination can work to our advantage. With limited time to complete an assignment, it can increase our focus and drive. We seem to increase our threshold for procrastination during the last few weeks of the semester because our energy levels are depleted, which often leads to increased stress.

Because we have less motivation to spare near the end of the semester, procrastination can amplify our exhaustion when we have to squeeze out the last bit of energy we have to complete a project the night before it’s due. Start your work early so you can spread your last bits of energy evenly across all assignments.

Next, reward yourself.

Anything containing sugar is enough for me, but find what works and use it to your advantage. Set reasonable goals and reward yourself when you complete them. People thrive on incentives, so give yourself a job to do, then reap the rewards. For example, after I finish my macroeconomics homework, I am treating myself to an episode of Scandal and a chocolate chip cookie. Whatever works.

Finally, remember your end game.

At the start of the semester, I am practically bursting with energy and excitement and goals galore. A multimedia project due next week? No problem. “Just another chance for me to explore my creativity and storytelling abilities,” I say with the hope of a Disney princess.

Now, it’s not so much like that. Where I once had a mile-long list of ideas, now my story ideas are reduced to my immediate surroundings.

“That lamp might make a good story. Or what about that pile of dirty dishes? Seems interesting enough.”

It gets pretty grim as the semester drags on, but my lack of motivation is heightened by neglecting the goals I set for myself in the beginning of the semester, when life was brighter.

It might be as simple as writing your goal out on a piece of paper and taping it to your mirror. Whatever your goal might be, recognize it and make it happen.

My goal is and always will be to do the best job I can on every project. This is important for the final grade, yes, but more importantly for my own growth as a student. It may be cliche or cheesy, but I came to school to learn and improve. That’s my end game, and I can only get there by giving each assignment everything I have.

So give yourself a pat on the back for all you’ve accomplished this semester and then a nice smack in the face. The holiday break is nearing, so tap into your motivation reserves and finish the semester.

And remember this: Mashed potatoes await.