Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Thanksgiving break, if you can even call it a one, has come to an end and we all return to face the most enduring weeks of the school year. It shouldn’t come to you as a surprise. All the work has been on your syllabus since the beginning of the term, but let’s be serious now, who actually plans this far ahead? Fortunately though, I can tell you more about what’s in your future than any syllabus can, and so, please refer to this week’s horoscopes before marching forward into the abyss.
For your Monday-Wednesday classes, it’s the last week. Take the time to reflect on your progress in all of your classes. Remember how little you knew about Cultural Studies or Astrophysics at the beginning of the semester and compare it to what you know now. This semester was not for waste, so celebrate how far you’ve come.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
You’re sitting in the middle of the exam, looking at the questions and thinking to yourself, “Wow, I should not have left all of my studying for last night.” Even if this is the case for you, do not let fear overcome you. The best thing you can do is to take the test with full confidence in yourself. When you finish and go up to turn it in, look straight into your professor’s eye, nod, and smile.
While some professors are lenient on deadlines, it’s best not to take any chances and ask for an extension ahead of time if you know you’ll be needing it. You do not want to assume that it’s okay to turn in a paper even a few hours late, as you just might be surprised to see points docked off your grade.
Just because everyone is focusing on academics right now, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing that you should be doing as well. The Winter Dance concert is coming up as is RnM’s dance show. If you’ve been practicing any sort of art, continue to invest your time and energy into it.
Sometimes, a little indulgence is necessary to keep your energy and creativity going. Whether it’s a glass of wine or a warm cup of hot chocolate in the evening, feel free to treat yourself as you continue to read and write. If you do decide on wine though, don’t overdo it.
Maintain momentum throughout the week so that when the weekend finally comes around, you can jump on the opportunity to go out and have fun. The worst thing that you can do is to be unproductive and still go out. Likewise, do not hole yourself up from here to the end of the semester. If you’re on top of your studies, then you should have fun during your nights off.
Your usual study spot is getting boring mainly because, well, you’re studying so much in it. McCabe no longer has the same warm, old-book atmosphere that it once did and instead, you’re staring at the weird carpet stains and hopeful messages that people leave on the carrels. It’s time to find a new spot, whether it be on campus at Paces or Kohlberg, or even the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Ville.
It’s so easy to start slacking off in face of all the work that you need to do, but remember, you’ve worked really hard this semester, and now’s the time to demonstrate just how much you’ve learned. Also, most of your grade rides on these final projects, so all the more reason to finish on a strong note.
You know how you learn best. If you realize that you never look at the notes you took on your computer during class, then maybe it’s best to switch to writing on a notebook. Additionally, try using some colorful highlighters or markers to make the boring activity of note-taking slightly more interesting (only slightly though).
The key to not feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of work that you have to do is to study with friends. Now, you know well that the same friends that you dance with at PubNite might not be the best to work with in a study room at McCabe. Yes, that includes your crush.
Part of a doing well on a test is definitely thinking ahead of time that you’ll do well on it. What’s a better way to start on a positive note than dressing for the occasion. Show up to class dressed to impress (that is, the professor) and you’ll see your grade reflect your dapper outfit.
When you think about it, you have written so much over your academic career, from the beginnings of the five-sentence paragraph to the typical five-paragraph essay of high school. While you may feel very comfortable with the typical structure of a paper, take a leap and try something new. Start from something very specific to make a larger point, spend time analyzing one very specific sentence in a poem instead of the full stanza, etc. If you think you’ve hit some gold, take it to the Writing Center or your professor to see if the new approach was worth it.
Images of Astrology Signs courtesy of DG Illustrator Erin Ford ’19
Features GIFs courtesy of giphy.com
Original photo of the featured image courtesy of www.bustle.com