Don't sweat spring fever: Experts give tips to focus

With spring in the air and about 20 days of classes left until exams, experts said students can be their own worst enemy when it comes to finishing off the semester well if they check out early.

Whether spring fever is causing distractions from studying or the pressure of grades is weighing students down, nationally recognized clinical psychologist Nancy Berk said there are tactics students can use to keep their head in the game without getting overwhelmed.

“It’s important to recognize the potential for it because it allows you to prepare for it and take steps to avoid the problem,” said Berk, author of “College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind” and blogger for USA Today College and The Huffington Post. “When you have spring fever and the weather’s beautiful, everyone goes out … It gives you that vacation feel that makes it tempting to put off some of your pressing obligations.”

She added that at the other end of the spectrum, students might feel extremely stressed because it’s the time of year when big decisions, such as summer employment and majors, must be made.

Economics professor Steven Haider said springtime can bring a heavy amount of stress for students attempting to improve low grades, but said even if students don’t have enough time to bring grades up, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

“It’s not about a college term, it’s about a college career,” Haider said. “If you keep it in perspective, it can help you focus your efforts better.”

Haider said stressed students should make sure they start studying now for end-of-the-year work and exams and not procrastinate another week. He also said students should speak with professors to learn how to best focus their time.

Berk suggested waking up just one hour earlier each day to fit more in and making rainy days study days.

She said students also can choose to surround themselves with more studious friends this time of year and use university resources, such as The Writing Center or the Counseling Center, if they are feeling too stressed.

“It’s important to take it a step at a time and celebrate,” Berk said. “Give yourself credit for each piece you complete.”

Social relations and policy freshman Athena Antonis, who was busy studying Sunday morning at Starbucks, said this time of year can be especially difficult for freshmen who still are transitioning to college study habits, such as regularly studying even when homework assignments are not due.
“You have to learn how to balance your time,” Antonis said, adding she hopes to do well come finals week.

“If I don’t get the grade I really want to, at least I know that I tried.”

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