It’s that time of year again. Like me, you’ve probably spent the last two weeks bundled up inside, making excuses about how it’s far too cold to leave the house and wishing it could be summer already. I hate the feeling of starting a new semester, already anticipating its end.
Though it is only my second year of college, and therefore second time returning to campus for the spring semester after a month at home, I’ve realized that I never feel this way during the fall. When August rolls around, I am excited for new beginnings and reuniting with friends after a long summer apart. I know that shortly after arriving on campus, there will be football games to attend, Homecoming week and holidays right around the corner, keeping my schedule filled and giving me a sense of fulfillment.
Maybe what makes it so hard to come back to school in January with that same excitement is knowing that I will spend more of my time on homework and less on the fun activities that generally come with the exciting fall semester.
This New Year’s Eve, one of the goals I wrote down for 2024 was to make the most out of the drab months of the year and start my spring semester more positively than I have in the past. Without football games and many events to attend on the weekends, I know I’ll have much more free time. Here are a few things I plan to implement in my best attempt to avoid the spring slump that you could also use.
One of the best ways to pass the time and pull back from computer screens is to pick up a book. There’s no better feeling than finding a book genre or series that you love for the first time. If you find yourself in need of a new hobby to fill some free time this semester, reading is a fun and rewarding option.
Having a fun plan to look forward to at the end of the week or month makes the long school days pass by a little quicker. This could be a concert, brunch with friends, plans to walk around Piedmont Park or anything in between. Without the many holidays and school breaks to look forward to during the fall semester, the spring can become repetitive, but making frequent plans can help break it up and add something exciting to your schedule.
Especially for freshmen who may not have joined any clubs or organizations during their first semester, the spring is a great time to try something new! Last spring semester, I went to my first Technique meeting and had no idea that I would later be working as the Online Editor. This is your sign to visit the student organization fair, attend meetings and find a new community on campus that can add excitement to an otherwise boring semester.
Though boredom and colder weather are primary conditions of the spring slump, I can’t overlook the inevitable academic burnout after fall semester. It seems like finals were just yesterday, which makes it hard to start a new course load without feeling overwhelmed. In conjunction with trying new things and finding activities to fill free time when cold weather keeps us inside, it is crucial to intentionally step away from homework and give yourself grace during the new semester.
It may require more effort to make the spring just as enjoyable as the previous semester, but adding a little bit of excitement to your schedule and changing up your routine can make a huge difference in avoiding the dreaded spring slump. This is an experience that I could not see myself committing to, let alone loving, even six months before I did it. During the fall semester, I was more outgoing than I had possibly ever been prior. I spent more time with my friends, made new ones and finally found an outlet to pursue my enjoyment of writing. While none of these experiences directly parallel the “college experience” of going wild at parties every weekend, they very much parallel the experience of trying new things and learning about who you are, which is what I think the college experience is really about.