written by christie Ngo (peace advisor)
Like clockwork, DST marks the full-fledged take-over of autumn. While turning back the clock accompanies an increase in the overall number of hot chocolates and pumpkin spice lattes consumed, it oftentimes correlates to a decrease in student productivity levels. Through the simple action of moving back one hour, daylight saving throws our schedules into limbo. As the weather gets chillier and the sky turns darker, our natural bodily responses are to curl up in bed and choose to forget that there are study groups to go to, meetings to attend, and homework to be done. Don’t let the slump get to you! While it’s highly tempting to push back responsibilities in order to focus on Thanksgiving dinner, your professors are not going to slow down and you will fall behind. Below, here are a couple of tips intended to help you stay strong during the cooler months.
- Honor your commitments (and resist, resist, resist the desire to nap). You know that meeting you have every week? The one that starts at 8PM while your last class ends at 3PM? How about that study group that meets later in the day? Keep up with them. It can sometimes be discouraging to get out of class in the late afternoon and see it already be pitch black outside, but fight the urge to let that cause you to be unproductive. Make concrete plans with classmates and friends to go to events or study sessions together, which will increase the likelihood of you sticking to your schedule. If you have large gaps between your activities, consider hitting up the gym or going to your favorite study spot to make the most of your time.
- Stay active. It’s dark in the morning, it’s dark by mid-afternoon, and it’s cloudy throughout the day. No wonder our circadian rhythms get so messed up! Combat feelings of lethargy by getting your heart pumping and body moving at least a couple times a week. Get a quick workout in at the RSF, gather friends together and form an IM team, or simply forego the bus sometimes in favor of a brisk walk to class. Keeping your body active keeps your mind sharp, leaving you ready to tackle the day!
- Regulate that sleeping schedule. Yes, I know it seems like I’m asking for the impossible here. But sleep is important y’all. If you’re already averaging 8+ hours a night, you keep doing you because that is super impressive. However, if you’re constantly saying to yourself, “Wow, it’s only 5AM? Sweet! I get 3 hours of sleep tonight!” then it’s time to reevaluate your routine. Everyone has late nights, but if yours are chronic and prolonged, eventually your body is going to give in and you’re going to crash. Consider setting study and work deadlines for yourself every night based on the amount of work that you have to accomplish, along with multiple short-term deadlines to help guide you through the night. Finally, realize that if you’re trying to cram the night before a midterm but can’t even keep your eyes open, it’s best to just call it a night and start fresh in the morning.
There are many more tips out there to help you stay away from early hibernation, but I hope these three can help get you started. It’s perfectly fine (and healthy!) to take a break from your studies once in awhile, but don’t let earlier nightfall become an excuse to slack off. Good luck all!