How to power through Winter Term

Melinda Kauffman

One semester down. Congratulations. You’ve survived another semester of college or, for some of you, your first ever semester of college.

In case you haven’t noticed, college is difficult, especially at an elite school such as Washington and Lee. Coming from someone who needs plenty of sun exposure to act like a normal human, I know how difficult winter term can be. It may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes it is especially hard to feel motivated when the temperature is low and the classes are hard.

One thing I have found to be especially effective is setting aside intentional time to spend with others or do something for yourself. It is easy once classes resume to allow the busy schedule to take over.

However, if you can pull yourself away long enough to spend an evening in Charlottesville with your friends or buy yourself something you wouldn’t normally buy, you may find that your mood will improve.

One simple suggestion is to watch a movie on a Friday evening. After a long week of late nights at the library and endless reading assignments, nothing helps to unwind more than to grab some popcorn and watch a favorite film.

If I have extra time, I enjoy visiting friends at other universities nearby or taking a group to Roanoke or Charlottesville and going shopping or catching a movie after a dinner in town.

Parties are great and staying on campus is always an option, but sometimes you need a mental break from both the academic and the social scene on campus.

Find something that helps you to recharge, because winter term can seem long and endless. I promise that you have enough time to treat yourself every once and awhile without letting your grades or social life suffer.

You will never regret taking care of yourself. Treating yourself to a movie or a fancy dinner is beneficial to your health and your mental sanity.

You do not have to clear an entire weekend, because let’s be honest who has time for that? But, if you have even an hour or two that you can set aside to read a book or go on a hike, you will find that you will be much better off for the rest of the year.

For me, as a spring athlete, it was especially hard last year knowing that I was not able to leave campus for Washington Break or Spring Break like everyone else. I was still able to see my parents when they came to my tennis matches, but I never got to take a mental break from campus by visiting somewhere other than W&L.

Breaks are important and vital to our mental sanity.

Humans were not designed to go, go, go all of the time. Stay on top of your homework and get some sleep and you will do well.

But success will only come after taking breaks every now and then.

Do you like mountains and nature? Go for a Saturday morning hike. Do you like to draw or paint? Ask a friend to pose for you and paint a masterpiece. Do you enjoy a good cup of drip coffee? Take a trip to Charlottesville and check out one of their trendy coffee shops. Lexington is in a unique and beautiful area filled with abundant opportunities to explore and experience the world around you.

Don’t let this winter term get you down. Get involved around campus and make plans to hangout with your friends. It may appear as if everyone around you is constantly working or going above and beyond, but in reality we are human and no one can work 24/7.

Next time you think about spending all day in the library, don’t. Get up early and spend a productive morning in the library and then take an afternoon break and grab a warm cup of coffee and watch the latest episode of your favorite show on Netflix. Study hard, take breaks, and stay warm this winter term.