10 Ways to Survive Second Semester (Post Spirit Week)

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10 Ways to Survive Second Semester (Post Spirit Week)

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Christmas and New Year’s are long past gone. Spirit Week has sadly come to an abrupt close. The rain and constant flurries struggle to break up the incessantly cloudy skies. But no snow days. Spring break is a distant hope in the future. Nothing to look forward to — no long vacations, no holidays, no big events — just endless school days and the constant grind. And even the nonstop four day weeks add to the struggle, forcing every test, project, essay, quiz, and assignment to be crammed into the few classes we have each week.

Okay, so maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration; I mean it’s not that bad — but it’s not that good, either. So what can you do to make the long, gloomy days a little better when senioritis (or junioritis, or even seventh-grade-itis) begins to set in? Here’s a list of the top ten ways to survive second semester when nothing seems exciting!

1) Do something fun (and new) on one of the days off or even a regular weekend!
Find a new breakfast place with a friend, go see a movie, or explore an area of St. Louis that you’ve never been to before. Get out of bed and log out of Netflix and social media for a day. Sometimes just getting out of the house can work wonders for boredom and sad, gloomy days.

2) Try a new hobby!
Have you always wanted to try watercolor, ukulele, or baking (some of my favorite hobbies ;))? Do something new, interesting, and productive on a Saturday afternoon by expanding your list of activities and maybe even discovering a passion you never knew you had! Get a friend involved if you want — or spend some time alone (no shame either way).

3) Get outside (even if it’s rainy or cold)!
Take your dog for a walk, go for a hike somewhere you’ve never been, or try geocaching. Maybe the sun will even come out! A breath of fresh air can give you a whole new perspective when the days seem long, boring, and monotonous.

“I always think it’s helpful to take a break from homework and go outside to play basketball with my brothers. When I come back inside, I am more focused and ready to really get my work done,” said Rebekah Sems, staff writer.

4) Read a book!
No, I don’t mean that book you are supposed to be reading for your English class — I mean a book that you want to read just for fun, your choice. Reading isn’t stupid or a waste of time — in fact, it is one of the easiest ways to learn and the simplest form of entertainment. Go to a bookstore (Mr. Hughes suggests Half Price Books, and I would be happy to give you some other recommendations :)), and pick something that you’re actually excited about. Fiction, non-fiction, self-help, fantasy, comics, classics, mystery, science fiction, biographies, whatever! The options are seriously endless, and you’ll realize how much reading can do for you and your attitude. Grab a cup of coffee (or hot cocoa), and take the time to sit, slow down, and read. And go read Lea Despotis’ book review Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and her infographic on book recommendations!

5) Change up your studying habits or spots!
Maybe all these ideas sound great — if you had the time. So, if you just can’t seem to make the time for anything more than school, extracurriculars, and homework, find ways to bring fun and excitement into your everyday life. Go to a library on a weekend or weeknight instead of staying in your room, and find a cozy nook. Try waking up bright and early instead of staying up until midnight or later to finish that paper or project. Maybe study with a friend if you always study alone (or don’t), or if you always study with others, learn how to study on your own. Or set a timer and try to finish an assignment or two by the time it rings. Change it up, and see if something new works.

“I often struggle with getting distracted while I’m working, so I like to try a new coffee shop because I find I am more productive and focused when I am not at home,” said Isabella Francois, editor-in-chief.

6) Get rid of your bad habits!
If you are that kid who has pretty much never eaten a vegetable or who hasn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in seven years, try to leave your bad habits behind. Improve your diet, make an effort to eat breakfast in the morning, stop drinking so much coffee, or actually try to get some sleep during the week. I’m just as guilty as anyone, but sometimes a healthier meal or a few more hours of sleep can improve your mood and make the whole day better.

7) Start journaling!
Like reading, writing for fun often gets a bad wrap. But it can actually be really helpful and fulfilling! Writing a letter to a friend or family member or journaling about your day helps you reflect on your life while also often improving your writing skills and relationships. Often just taking a few minutes to jot down what you’re grateful for or what you did on a particular day can make you smile and realize how blessed you truly are. Life isn’t all that bad.

“I journal off and on, and naturally I am an introverted person when it comes to dealing with important and deep conflicts. I would rather sort it out with myself before seeking other people, and I have found that journaling gives me more clarity before approaching a problem. Writing my thoughts and conflicts down helps me process how I should handle a situation before I actually face it,” said Ava Hollmann, staff writer.

8) Text a friend, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling!
Whoever it may be, text, call, or reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. FaceTime your brother or sister at college or send an email to your grandparents that you haven’t seen since Thanksgiving or Christmas. Chances are that they will appreciate it way more than you know — and you probably will to. Make an effort to keep old friendships alive, and put a smile on someone else’s face.

9) Do a random act of kindness!
Maybe it’s as simple as taking out the trash without a parent asking you to or taking your neighbor’s dog for a walk. It could be telling a teacher how much you appreciate him or her, making your parents breakfast, or putting a note in your friend’s locker. Often when I help make someone else’s day better, my whole day improves instantly, and life just seems a little bit happier.

10) Find things to look forward to!
Like I said at the beginning of this article, the dreary days of February and March and second semester can sometimes seem like there’s nothing to look forward to. After all, the holidays and Spirit Week are over, summer is far away, and school and extracurriculars are rigorous and busy. So, definitely focus on ways to make the present better, but also find things to look forward to — little or big. Dream about that vacation you are going on for spring break or even in a few months during the summer, look forward to your morning cup of coffee, or get excited for a fun movie night with your friends this weekend. Choose to make the little things in life exciting — seeing your friends at lunch, eating a Hollyberry cookie, or waiting for the 3:00 bell to sound. Sometimes it just takes a fresh new perspective on life and school to make everything seem a whole lot better. I know it’s not easy, but make an effort to be grateful for what life has to offer you right now — in St. Louis, at Westminster, in the middle of a seemingly ordinary March. 😉

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