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How to Survive November

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I’m sorry, where did October go? It was right here, in the heading of my paper, yesterday.

With November upon us, as well as random 70 degree days, it’s been hard to swallow holiday commercials and Christmas decor lining the aisles in local stores. For the college student, November isn’t all turkey decorations and Christmas cookie mixes. November is often a combination of the calm before Thanksgiving break and the panic that ensues during the last month of the semester.

If you are a traditional freshman, you’re in for a doozy. November is rough: it’s often riddled with papers, complemented with the occasional all-nighter, and furnished with the longing for home. November, however, is conquerable and manageable. Follow these tips to enjoy your last full month of the semester, and ensure you go home for Thanksgiving break in one piece.

1. Write. Everything. Out.

So maybe you’re not a writer, and that’s fine. But come the end of the semester, writing out your assignments and their due dates becomes a necessity. Aside from your planner (er, if you use one), writing out your assignments, perhaps weekly, along with their due dates in a central location will give you a little piece of mind. Seriously. Seeing everything written out makes each assignment and their deadline all the more concrete. It’s also a great reference sheet when you need to double check due-dates.

2. Use a specific space.

Another key to accomplishing tasks is designating a specific space for assignment completion. In other words, I would advise against working in a highly-populated area, say the Great Room, or in areas you know distractions are present. Choose an area, maybe the new and improved quiet area in the library, and use that area as the place you designate to work on assignments. Over time, your brain will associate the space with productivity. Working in your bed may create more work for your brain; your brain associates your bed with relaxation and ultimately sleep, so working in bed may be counterproductive. Check out the brand new quiet room on the bottom floor of the library for guaranteed peace and quiet.

3. Give yourself a rest.

I’m all for taking breaks during homework. After you complete an assignment, eat a snack. After you finish a paper, watch a 20 minute Netflix episode. Giving yourself a break can encourage you to finish strong and discourage you from becoming burned out too quickly. Additionally, sleeping is a great way to increase productivity. In other words, make sure you sleep each night, and I’m not referring to three power naps while you pull through a research paper. Pulling consecutive all-nighters is a sure way to produce less-than-your-best kind of work. Sleeping for a few consecutive hours will give your brain much needed rest to start the next day.

These few tips will encourage you through these next few weeks, and ultimately help you finish strong and do your best. And most importantly, don’t forget to pray. Asking God for strength, peace, wisdom, and a strengthened ability to focus are all petitions pleasing and worthy. Strive to do your best not for your professor or your grade, but for Christ, the one who’s given you the opportunity to attend Cairn and enjoy the craziness of November.

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