Here’s my theory: When teachers are writing their syllabi for second semester, they stop after Spring Break to review what they’ve written so far.
When they do, most professors realize that they haven’t assigned an essay, project or an exam in a while. Do they just hold off until finals? No, of course not. They assign that 10 page essay with a required appendix and annotated bibliography, because what better time than the last month of school?
Unfortunately for students, unless your professor is a seasoned teaching veteran who hates grading exams as much as we hate taking them, they pretty much all do this.
As students, we’re immune to this kind of stress. We’ve been dealing with busywork assignments since we were in kindergarten and had to find something for show-and-tell so the teacher didn’t have to fill another two hours in her lesson plan.
The difference between college and kindergarten in April is that college kids could not care less about the busywork.
In kindergarten we didn’t even know when the school year ended, so we just kept trucking along. Now as college students, we know that after Spring Break, school is essentially over. You just have to coast through the next month or so and try to make it out unscathed.
Essays and exams in April don’t reflect the kind of student you were in January. Instead, they show a caffeine induced cram session, probably followed by a solid cry for all the fun had over spring break (RIP Cabo tans).
The worst part about these April blues is that students can only care so much about an essay grade. Of course it matters — it’s the last chance to raise your overall grade to a point that you’re confident can survive an abysmal finals week. But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter at all.
Not only is April draining mentally, as students wring out all their knowledge onto a piece of paper, they also have to devote time toward the summer. Not the fun “I’m going to the pool and sleeping in everyday this summer” summer, by the way, the “Shit, I have to get a job this summer,” summer.
Focusing all your stress on last minute assignments becomes all the more difficult, because now you have to include finding a summer internship/job in the list of things you worry about but don’t actually care about.
April showers don’t bring May flowers. At least not the kind of showers I’m talking about (tears and spilled coffee).
For a month that is meant for coasting, April is ranked last in my book. Not only does it contain the stupidest holiday ever invented (April Fools Day), it includes sixty thousand essays to write, or maybe a 60,000-word essay.
Here’s a list of ways to break out of the post spring break slump:
1. Crawl Into Bed Till March 31
Don’t crawl out until May 1. If you’re reading this and you aren’t in your bad, crawl into it.
2. Self Discipline
Go to the library, turn on some white noise and blast it through your headphones.
Next, handcuff your ankle to the table and swallow the key. Now you can’t leave the library until you finish writing your essay, doing your project or studying for your exam. You also can’t leave until, well, you know … the key.
3. Be Proactive
Speaking from experience (and by experience I mean I’ve literally only done this once in my entire college career), it’s a lot less stressful writing a paper a week before it’s due, rather than a day before it’s due.
You don’t even have to write it all at once. This way, you have an entire week to work on it a little at a time.
4. Apply to a Million Internships and Jobs
This way, you’re bound to hear back from at least one. Also do this as soon as you possibly can. The longer you wait, the fewer opportunities will arise as the early birds have already eaten the worms.
5. Hire a Stunt Double
Or, clone yourself. I don’t know how you could do this without spending a million dollars, but I’m sure Groupon has some sort of deal for it.
6. Ask for Extensions
It’s not easy writing multiple essays at the same time for multiple classes. I recommend asking a few days in advance, as a teacher will most likely hate you for asking an hour before the due date.
7. Take Breaks
Nobody is making you sit and study for hours straight (unless you handcuffed yourself to the table like I advised earlier, in that case you’re S.O.L). During these breaks do things that make you happy. Don’t do laundry or dishes because that’s no way to release stress.
Go for a run, play a video game, color in that coloring book, take a power nap or maybe watch some Netflix. I’m serious when I say “some,” so don’t get carried away and watch three seasons.
8. Pet One of Those Therapy Dogs on Campus
If your campus doesn’t partake in hiring therapy dogs during stressful times, then I’m sorry.
Go find a dog and pet it. Research shows that petting a dog will lower your stress. Make a visit to your nearest animal shelter and pet all the dogs. Every last one of them.
9. Ignore School
Put on your bathing suit, lather on some tanning oil, shotgun a beer and pretend like you’re still on spring break.
There’s no better way to break out of the post Spring Break slump like pretending it isn’t upon you.