Letters From Lambda: Graduation and the senior slump

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With graduation steadily approaching, staying motivated to the end can sometimes be a challenge. Now is not the time to slide by, but instead to get the most out of the time left.

Everyone gets a little unmotivated from time to time, but it is important to keep it from becoming a habit. Procrastination and poor time management left unchecked will only continue to cause problems beyond graduation. Right now is the best time to set yourself up for future success while ensuring your final semester is not overly stressful.

A tendency to be lazy in one aspect of life, such as not holding yourself to a gym or sleep schedule, daily routine or meal plan, can sometimes spread into other areas, like tackling assignments and responsibilities for clubs or work. Likewise, getting yourself on track with healthy habits like consistent, well balanced meals and regular exercise can make you more productive in those areas.

In fact, exercise is one of the best ways to combat senioritis or any lack of productivity. It increases mental capacity, releases endorphins to boost your mood and gives you more energy while reducing stress. Now when you look at that paper due at midnight, you will feel more relaxed and have a clear mind and the energy to write it on time. Just think of how accomplished you will feel at the end of the day! If you are worried about holding yourself to a gym schedule, going with friends is a great way to be accountable and have fun in the process.

Productivity feeds more productivity. The feeling of crossing one thing off a to do list can be quite motivational to complete other tasks. Before you know it, you are all finished. Physically writing out your responsibilities can also help improve your focus on those goals.

Creating to do lists is also a great way to stay organized. Make a note of your assignments in your planner as you get them, then go home and write out your to do list on a separate paper to keep your planner from getting cluttered. Take it a step farther and separate your tasks by designating a time to complete them based on due dates. Breaking up your workload can make it seem a lot less daunting and can give you much needed down time. Just be careful of letting that one-hour Netflix break turn into a binge session!

Speaking of cluttered, keeping your dorm or apartment clean and tidy can also help relieve mental “clutter.” Having a neat and organized room increases focus and keeps one more thing off the to do list. The space where you study has more effect on your productivity than you might think.

When you sit down to tackle your to do list, make sure you are ready to be your most productive. Whether that means you are secluded in the silence of the third floor of the library, sitting at Starbucks (or Dunkin!) with your extra espresso or at your desk with your favorite music playing, getting yourself in a space where you can focus is half the battle. Making sure you have everything you need with you can also help you avoid those breaks in concentration when you have to find a highlighter or that handout from class.

Studying with friends is yet again a great way to be held accountable for staying on track, but if your study sessions turn into talking and showing each other funny videos, maybe save the hangouts for after the work is done. Then, you can have fun without your to do list running through the back of your mind.

Being productive comes down to finding healthy habits that work for you and sticking to them. You will find that it will be much easier to enjoy your time left at Slippery Rock when you are not stressing yourself out by procrastinating. Getting into a routine now will also help you master time management, a crucial skill to being successful in your career.

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