How to combat the week two decline

Keeping up good habits throughout the semester

Will Seward

More stories from Will Seward



Some people have a bulletin board “hub” for their organization methods.

I like to think there are actually people like me; the procrastinators with good intentions to do well. I intend to start on papers ahead of time or to be better about an outline for thorough notes and to organize them. Typical good-student expectations. 

While we are at it, props to those that can keep that up all year. I do not know how they do it.

I typically last about two weeks before my planner becomes lost — ignored, really — and I start winging my way through and work off my memory.

It works until week three or four when I suddenly remember that I have a project or exam for every single class. It typically ends up with some tears, a lot of late nights and grades that are not too low, but could be higher. 

But more than anything, it adds unnecessary stress.

Last semester was the first semester I was able to avoid this — even with a few slip-ups — and while these things are not popular or the typical “five-day study plans,” I believe they worked for me.

It started with self-respect.

I can only ever expect my best work and, yeah, sometimes that will be a B. I can only ever push myself as hard as I can reasonably expect to be pushed. As long as I knew that I did my best, I felt comfortable with whatever grade I got.

This dismissal to obtain an A helped me a lot. I did not worry about turning things in. I did not worry about exams. I knew that “my best” was capable of at least a C, so as long as I got there, I knew life had a way to work itself out.

Unusual methods to remain organized.

I never really cared for planners. No matter how I organize it, or what kind I use, I end up never filling it in with my assignments and projects which leads me to become more frustrated trying to make myself use it than just winging it.

I found that just using the Notes app on my phone — Google Keep for my fellow Android users out there — was the best way for me to keep track. Just write an assignment when it is due, and close the app. It was simple, fast, easy to read, portable and most importantly, useful.

Classes are about enjoyment.

Part of this improvement had to do with how much I enjoyed my classes. It was my first semester as a creative writing student, which is something I have been serious about for years and finally talked myself into actually pursuing.

The engagement I had in class was unparalleled by the other four majors I tried before this. I not only had the app to help me keep track of everything, but I started looking forward to assignments and when I would get to do them. When I had spare time, I would start working on the assignments that sounded fun for no reason other than the fact I enjoyed it.

The lesson on self-accountability.

No one will care for my mental health, grades or personal life more than me. Anyone could say the same about themselves. I have been told by some it is a pessimistic way to handle this, but I find relief in it.

It is no one else’s responsibility but my own to make sure that I am capable of doing my best, and am doing so in a healthy manner.

It was not The Spectator’s job to make sure I did not take too many stories. It wasn’t the jobs of my professors’ to make sure I had a manageable workload. It was my responsibility to manage all of these and make sure I did my best at all of them.

Last semester was the highest grade-point average I have had since my freshman year of college. Even then, the semester in comparison had four fewer credits, were all lower-division classes and I did not have two jobs on top of it.

I did not make the dean’s list and it was not really anything to brag about, but I was able to do my best, which is something I am still proud of.

Life has a way of working itself out. Just do your best, find what works for you and do what interests you.

Seward can be reached at [email protected]