March is a long and depressing month, and I know I’m not the only one in a slump. I do not want to do homework. I do not want to shower. I must drag myself to class, etc. etc. etc. You know the feeling. Thank God Bwog’s compiled a list of tried-and-true methods to get out of any mid-semester slump!
Buy new pens or stationery you’ve been coveting from afar to inspire note-taking. Go to redbubble.com, search every noun that makes you smile, and buy it in sticker form. Cover your laptop, notebooks, and planner with stickers that spark joy.
Spice up the way you take notes. Try mind-mapping in class, drawing your notes, color-coding them, etc.
Plan lunch and coffee dates with friends! Even if you’re tired or moody, it might feel really great to see some friendly faces and just relax.
Find a new podcast or a new album to listen to while sitting on a bench in a little patch of sunlight. Close your eyes and enjoy quietly or keep them open for top-notch New York City people-watching.
Drink a smoothie! From Cafe East, John Jay, Diana, or any location of choice. Vitamins are good for us.
Take a Saturday to do no homework at all and plan a trip to the zoo or a museum, alone or with friends–both can be really restorative and energizing!
Get up and move; there’s no better way to get a nice endorphin rush going. This could look like going to the gym or to a Fitbear class. Other times it’s blasting the Mamma Mia soundtrack and doing a full out one-woman show in your dorm room. Try yoga or go jogging! Walk to Riverside and go on the swings for half an hour! Whatever floats your boat.
Do something saucy to your wardrobe. Cut your t-shirts into crop tops. Shop around on Buy Sell Trade Barnard. Dress up in something you love even if you don’t think you have a reason to!
If school is getting you down, call someone who is entirely unaffiliated with this institution and loves you a lot. Hometown friends and grandparents are especially good for this. Call up your mom and vent to her! Ask to Facetime your dog or cat! It’s restorative to remember there’s a world beyond Columbia.
- You could also email and reach out to your high school teachers to get some perspective on how far you’ve come and how big the world still is. (…or you could just have a good time and stalk your high school teachers on Pinterest?)
- Set aside a night take yourself to dinner and go to a concert or a movie or something of the like. Check out TIC for any free or discounted tickets to NYC cultural events and performances. You deserve it.
- Specifically, go to Williamsburg, walk down by the water, get barbecue from Fette Sau, and either see a film at Metrograph or go to a show at Music Hall/Brooklyn Steel. According to Bwogger Jake Tibbets, this works every time.
- Make your bed! Crack open your dorm room window! Buy yourself some flowers! Take a gentle afternoon nap in fresh linens!
- Find a dog; pet it.
- Take some time for restorative self-care: a long shower and face mask, clipping your nails, putting on lotion, etc.
- Do something with your hands, like knitting, drawing, or crocheting, to help give your brain a minute to focus on something else. You could go all out on a paint-by-number! Amazon sells them for approx. $15 and the good ones can take a month or longer to complete. Plus, you’ll have a great new piece of artwork to liven up your room.
- Brainstorm with a pen and paper and literally draw out factors that could be causing the slump. Then you can see which factors can be eliminated. If a class is causing the slump, can you drop the class? Can you restructure my schedule to not cram the homework? Can you find a study buddy?
- If you find that you’re wasting time by zoning out instead of actually doing work, give yourself 30-minute break—read some Bwog articles, listen to some new music, scroll through the New York Times, etc.
- Change the scenery when you study! Try finding a totally new spot on campus. If you usually study in your room, give Milstein a shot. If you’re always in Ref, move to Butler’s fifth-floor reading rooms! Sometimes a little change can make a big difference in getting motivated.
- Put time into discovering and creating your ideal studying environment. Music or no music? Sufficient lighting? A comfortable seat? (It’s also helpful to treat yourself to your favorite hot beverage and make sure you have some tasty snacks on hand.)
- Make a playlist that you will never listen to again because it serves no purpose. (One Bwogger’s Saturday project: https://open.spotify.
com/playlist/ 3Sn2APjM63vRRVk3Lgvfsz?si= Aui7D73nSuKPGernYa-F1A)
- Sometimes, it feels like the farther away you can get from campus, the better. A walk along Broadway or in Riverside Park is good, but getting out downtown to Soho/the Village? Or even all the way to Brooklyn/Queens/etc? That’s how to heal your soul. Getting out of the MoHi bubble can really help you clear your head and gain some perspective! Eat good food and just be a normal person and not a college student.
- Do just one small reading or piece of an assignment that excites you. Reach out to a professor that’s especially inspiring and make a plan to talk to them in Office Hours about their interests or your interests or the assignment that excites you or how you’ve been feeling.
- Have fun trying out some New York City treats for a nice, refreshing study break. Bwog recommends Magnolia Bakery (esp. their banana pudding), Levain Bakery, Milk Bar, and The Doughnut Project.
- When you’re stuck in a class or with an assignment that is beginning to seem pointless, brainstorm a list of skills and benefits you’re getting out of it. When you find yourself complaining that none of this will be useful in the real world, it’s good to encourage yourself to recognize that you’re learning and growing with every essay, lecture, and discussion post. Really.
- Sit in a Book Culture armchair for an afternoon and just take in the bookstore ambiance. Read random pages from a novel you’ve never heard of. Pick up a book of independently-published poetry. Take a load off.
- Completely reorganize your dorm room. It helps to be in an environment that’s clean and put-together even when you’re not. Put away your clothes, neaten your desk, go through your drawers and throw out any old papers. Become a minimalist, if you’re feeling it.
- Cook or bake something! The step-by-step process of following a recipe really forces your brain to get working. Plus, you end up with something tasty as a result. May we recommend any of our Cooking With Bwog articles as a good place to start?
- Grab a towel, headphones, and a book, and lie on the lawns for hours listening to music or reading. Photosynthesis will help clear your brain and give you the energy you need to get back into the swing of things.
- Make a list of all the tiny things you’ve been putting off. Do them. When those little things are out of your head, your brain has way more space to think.