What not to do during winter term

Brianna Hatch offers advice to tackle winter term classes

Brianna Hatch

As I returned to campus following winter break, equipped with far too many overpacked bags (none of which contained any essential school supplies), I knew three things to be true.

First, I hadn’t woken up before 10 a.m. for the past three weeks. Second, my screen time had increased by 84 percent. Last, I had binged at least 13 Netflix shows. Oh—and I had read one book. So, yeah, I considered myself to be the epitome of a well-prepared, well-equipped college student, bursting with eagerness to begin classes.

To be frank, I could not have been more wrong. My optimism stemmed from the leftover cheeriness of the holiday season, the reminiscence of warmth of numerous cups of hot chocolate still in my mind, the melancholy long-anticipated reunions with hometown friends—and all of those sentiments shattered within one day on campus. Immediately, the panic set in. I had to do homework. I had to wake up for 8:30 a.m. classes. I had to have a schedule. I had to be intellectual, and not just about my convoluted theories involving cheesy holiday rom-coms or witty commentary about “You.”

It’s been a struggle to get back into the swing of things. After about two weeks of classes, I certainly do not trust myself to tell you tips to muster up your productivity and strive for that 4.0—and you shouldn’t trust me, either. I can, however, tell you what not to do. Because currently, I am still in the trial-and-error phase that has so far just ended up in error.

Do not try to watch TV while doing homework. It sounds like excellent practice for your multitasking abilities until it’s been an incomprehensible amount of hours, with all your focus dedicated to “Dance Moms” and “The Bachelor” and your singular brain cell just keeps screaming “Team Chloe!” and “I hate Hannah Ann!” That 30-page politics reading? Those 16 physics problems? Untouched, and likely to remain that way.

Do not try to maintain the same sleep schedule you had over break. For some reason, hitting the pillow at 3 a.m. does not work as well anymore. Maybe it’s because I can no longer stumble out of bed at lunchtime. And especially don’t try to maintain it by drinking caffeinated beverages (coffee or tea, take your pick) at midnight. Believe me, it will not turn out well.

Do not try to get out of bed five minutes before your breakfast plans in an attempt to squeeze in that nutrition before class like a good semi-adult. Despite your self-believed supernatural abilities, you can in fact transform from a sleep-deprived zombie into a presentable human being in that short amount of time. Your friends will ditch you. You will go to class without food, and your stomach will revolt against you with a symphony of whale-esque noises in a silent classroom.

Finally, do not assume that every homework assignment will only take you an hour. Time management is an excellent skill that can be very useful, but only if you do not plan to do five subjects of homework in five hours or less. It will not work, and you will be disappointed and hopeless when that reality hits you like a load of bricks. I’m still recovering, myself.      

For now, sharing my own self-proclaimed struggles is all I can offer to help my fellow students. Maybe in a few weeks I can actually provide useful how-tos. Or maybe someone can share some tips with me, because I need them—seriously.