Vriezen: Take the time to enjoy spring

Claire Vriezen

As I walk across campus to my next class, I see the ground littered with bodies. Students are strewn across the grass, some are propped up against the steps of the library, others against trees.

No, it’s not a sign of the zombie apocalypse, it’s springtime. Students are now spending free time soaking up some vitamin D between classes rather than huddled inside the nearest building for warmth. 

With the end of the semester right around the corner, everyone seems to have spring fever. This past weekend, even I was unable to resist the temptation to wander campus barefoot, enjoying the feel of grass and dirt beneath my feet. After a week of VEISHEA, it is unlikely many will remain completely focused on school in the final stretch. 

While classes are wrapping up and professors are trying to squeeze in the last test or project, students search for time to have some fun in the sun. As important as studying, mental health is essential to maintain sanity, especially in the face of finals. 

This balance is a tricky one. Locking yourself in your room to study may make you feel as though you are optimizing your time, but expending effort only on homework will eventually lead to more stress and anxiety.

Nearly all studying tips I’ve run across will recommend that students avoid studying for extended periods of time without a break. Taking a small break, even for 15 minutes, will give your mind some time to relax and recharge before tackling the next set of textbooks. Often, a change of scenery is most helpful in taking a mental break, ensuring that you aren’t surrounded by your study materials and reminded of those stressors.

Now that the weather is improving, study breaks outside can serve not only to refresh the mind, but to simply allow students time to enjoy the weather. Due to a busy schedule this semester, I found myself increasingly frustrated that by the time I had a moment to spare, the sun had set and going outside would have to wait another day. Not having an opportunity to spend a lot of time outside during the week, I soon became impatient with the constraints of schoolwork.   

One quick solution to this problem is to simply migrate outside, class notes in hand. After all, there are no rules that dictate where studying must be done. Curl up under a tree or find a spot in the sun to continue reading.  As long as you can maintain the same level of focus, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the weather while hitting the books. 

If you find you can’t effectively study outdoors, at the very least it’s still a good idea to take the time to be outside. A cathartic walk around campus, a quick game of soccer or ultimate Frisbee might be just the thing to lift you out of the studying blues. 

As a nature lover, I find it calming to simply sit in the grass, look at the flowers, listen to the birds and watch the squirrels. Watching the world go on around me and taking in the beauty of spring serves to provide mental relief from the daily routine of classes. 

So as you reach the end of the semester, remember to take time for yourself in your studies. Not only will it serve to break up study time, but it will simply be beneficial to your emotional and mental needs. As the old adage goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”