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Adriana Aguilar, our fantastic Career Assistant

As week 10 draws near (cue melodramatic music), the library gets dangerously close to reaching capacity, our eating habits shift from an occasional veggie to eating taco bell for dinner at 1 AM every night, Dixon becomes nonexistent along with sleep and our stress levels reach heights that parallel Simba’s when the stampede of wildebeests come careening for him. Before the all night cramming commences I thought it would be wise to revisit the idea of taking a study break to de-stress. In no way am I debunking the importance of a study break, because lets be real, you are some sort of superhuman if you have the ability to study for 8 hours straight without taking a breather. What I’m suggesting is that we rethink what is done during this precious time we set aside to reset our psyches.

More often than not study breaks consist of scrolling down our Instagram feed for “five minutes” which translates into going your celeb crush’s Instagram pics while we envision ourselves as their spouse for the next hour. Now, this may be a study break you’re perfectly OK with and every once in a while the occasional imagination of what it would be like to be Mrs. Efron is necessary. That being said, I’ve realized recently is that there are far better ways to spend a study break that may allow us to de- stress while we also take a break from finals studying. For instance, we all have a gazillion things on our weekly to-do lists, in which case very rarely do all of the tasks on our lists all get done. I bet you can guess where this is going. So, if you’re studying at home and can no longer rehearse the circulation of blood through the chambers of the heart, or whatever it may be, instead of giving in to the black hole we call Facebook, or better yet, Pintrest, try knocking out a quick task on your to-do list. Some ideas may include…

  • Putting a load of laundry in, or better yet, folding that already done load of laundry
  • Cleaning out the inside of your car
  • Cooking up those veggies before they go bad
  • Finally taking off that chipped nail polish that’s been lingering for weeks
  • Changing that hallway light that went out months ago
  • Cleaning your room
  • Weeding your front yard as you soak up some vitamin D the natural way
  • Unloading the dishwasher
  • Preparing library snacks and dinners for finals week

These are just a few ideas, but I think you get my drift. In the end doing tasks that require little to no brainpower instead of lifelessly feeding into Facebook is a win-win for you. Your brain gets a break from cramming while you free up some time in the future by doing a task or two you would have had to do later. And honestly, it feels better. It feels better to transform your jungle of a yard overgrown with dandelions (into something that resembles an actual yard) than it does to browse your Facebook timeline to find out that your friends in California are already on summer break… It feels better to know that you have dinners prepped for finals week than it does to tweet “sleep is for the weak.” In addition, when you take a study break in the wee hours of the night, getting up and doing something will most likely have a greater affect in waking you up and recharging your battery than sitting and staring at a computer screen would.

We have a tendency to procrastinate in ways that are essentially dead ends and instead we could be using that same time to procrastinate in ways that are beneficial to other areas of our lives. Imagine that, there is such a thing as positive procrastination, so long as it doesn’t end up fully distracting you from your studying altogether. As a rule of thumb, your study break should take no longer than an hour max. That being said, these things may seem mundane, but one of the biggest struggles college students have is managing their time which is arguably one of, if not, the biggest contributor to stress. There is so much on our plates, one too many things we’re trying to juggle, but if we simply change the way we “waste time” by habitually taking study breaks that incorporate brainless tasks, I think it’s possible to be less stressed and more satisfied people as a result. So here’s to cleaner rooms, shiny cars, library snacks and clean socks (for once)! Let’s show week 10 what we’re made of!

posted by Adriana Aguilar

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