How to NOT Go Crazy From School.

This is supposed to be my Spring Break. I wasn’t going anywhere warm and tropical, no, but I came home, and I was excited to spend the time just lazing around. I missed doing boring things, like laying around all day with my pets and watching music videos or Animal Planet. I missed staying up all night, talking with old friends, going to bed at four in the morning and waking up at two in the afternoon.

As you can imagine, a break filled with reading, writing, and research is not something I’m really enjoying.

It’s not horrendous, all things considered. I’ve had some time to just laze around, so that’s good. Still, at this point in the academic year, it’s pretty much impossible to have a whole week where I’m not doing anything. And don’t lie to me; I know that, regardless if you’re doing it or not, you have work to do too.

So, in light of the fact that none of us are going to have a very enjoyable next six or seven weeks (at least, I’m not), here are a few tips that’ll hopefully make things a little easier:

Study space: I know you’ve had this preached to you over and over again, but you’re not gonna get anything done if you don’t have a good study space. More often than not, my room is a horrible place for me to attempt to do anything. My school library has a whole floor of study carrels, little isolated cubicles with outlets and lights for you to work at. Those work pretty well for me. It all depends on what works best for you, though; my girlfriend usually has to have a movie or at least the television on, while another friend of mine needs the murmur of conversation to focus. Find out what works best for you and stick the hell to it!

Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Getting a second eye on things like papers can really help pick out errors from really simplistic spelling errors to huge jumps in your train of thought. If you have roommate or someone on your floor who can spare a few minutes, ask them for their help. Most schools have writing centers where you can bring your stuff down for a little revision help. There are even forums with moderators more than willing to lend a helping hand.

Know where to look: Research can be tricky, nasty, and just plain irritating. How do you deal with it? There are a couple of key places that will help you more that you’d know. One, the library. Come on, now, you guys, were you not been listening through all of K-12? Libraries, especially ones in colleges and universities, are packed full of all kind of great stuff. Search through the directory, or just ask for help to find your topic of choice. Two, the internet. I personally have undying faith in the internet, and know that I can find pretty much anything I need on it. Search engines are your best friends, and there are tons of them out there for you to use. There are also lots of online databases that most schools subscribe to. My favorite is JSTOR; check to see whether or not your school happens to choose JSTOR here. Most schools have a listing of their databases on their websites, as well, so do a little hunting. Three, your professors. Never thought of that one, did you? The fact is, professors are usually super happy to help a student with research. If they’re teaching Shakespeare, chances are pretty high they have a book that’ll help you with your research paper on Hamlet. Seriously, try it.

Relax!: Take it from someone who has breakdowns at the very thought of having a term paper due the next day she hasn’t started with: getting upset will not fix anything. In fact, it’ll only make things worse. If you’re super tense and super stressed, just stop. Don’t say you don’t have the time to, because you know fully well the ten to fifteen minutes you could be spending cooling down you’d otherwise spend freaking out. Take a brief walk, listen to a few songs, have a handful of comfort food; even a quick 20-minute nap can help reduce stress (ignore the fact that it’s from men’s journal; sometimes, guys do know what they’re talking about).

School can be rough. There’s no doubt about that. But there are a ton of little and big tips and tricks that make things easier and, believe it or not, bearable. I bet you guys can think of some, too…

Olua - Washington CollegeCOLLEGECANDY Writer