How to keep your studious momentum going into the Winter break

While finals week is undeniably draining, your mind is still in the mood to learn over Winter break. It’s just like having a really tough workout...after you’ve had time to rest, your body starts to want to workout again.

Still, it’s pretty easy to ignore these strange desires. Winter breaks are usually made up of mindless fun, excessive sleeping and a plague-like avoidance of anything academic. If you choose to spend your break in this fashion, go for it. No judgment here.

But on the off chance that you were so awe-inspired and intrigued during your first semester that you would like to continue feeding your hungry mind, consider these steps to keep that momentum going.

  1. Wake up early-ish: Extra hours of sleep is the first thing your mind and body won’t see coming. While it won’t hurt to defy your internal clock and sleep much later than you did in college, it will take a big bite out of your mornings, which is usually the most productive part of a person's day. Instead try to be receptive to this gift and wake up when your body tells you to, instead of going back to sleep for several half hours in a row. Sticking to this pattern will eliminate drowsiness and sharpen your morning mind (on a scale of one to ten how much do I sound like a pharmaceutical commercial like right now?)

  2. Do morning things: Once you’re up, try to get to work. Cook with a podcast on, sit down with your breakfast and beverage of choice, start reading, writing or watching videos while your mind wakes up. Starting early not only affirms the “was I productive today?” question that lingers throughout these lazy winter weeks, but it also gives you free time at night to do whatever life throws at you.

  3. Get into some subreddits: In the modern world all interesting discussions on specific topics live on subreddits. If you really enjoyed a certain topic (molecular biology, history, Old-English literature) then check out some subreddits that delve deep into the subjects.

  4. Take a trip to the bookstore: There’s no easier way to get into the ‘readin and a learnin’ mood then by going to a cool bookstore and buying enough books to last you a full year in sweet solitude. These don’t have to be related to your major, or any other classes you found interesting (although we do recommend it). As long as you’re spending the break doing some reading you’ll keep your mind sharp.

  5. Write: If you don’t like writing then I’m not going to tell you to give yourself an assignment, but it is a really good way to organize what you’re learning and construct your opinions and ideas. So if you do like writing, then I would suggest that you give yourself a weekly writing goal. It in no way has to be overly ambitious, you don’t need to spin a stirring short story, just sit down and write out your thoughts on something you’re reading or on an important topic. If you don’t feel like being imaginative at all, just try and explain a topic you studied by writing it out without doing any research.

  6. Look back at course topics: This doesn’t have to be from the boring text book. You can reread chapters of fiction books you had to read, research a certain topic on wikipedia or watch YouTube videos that explain things you had studied. Maybe you can just find a magazine related to your major and pick interesting articles to read. The goal here is just to take another look at things you’ve learned so that you have a much higher chance of retaining the information.

  7. Have discussions with friends: Crazy idea right? Who wants to spend time talking about Beowulf or wind powered technology or whatever you're studying? Fortunately, you’d be surprised about the amount of people willing to nerd out after their first semester. Try bringing it up on a lazy day, but if your friends would rather gossip, just gossip.

  8. Take breaks: If this list has inspired you to delve courageously into a month of self-guided knowledge consumption, make sure you come back up for air every now and then. See some friends, spend time with your family, and don’t stress yourself out thinking you need to be a machine of productivity. Just do it if you like it. And if you like it do it well.

Academic Matters College Advice

Should I Join a Theatre Group in College?

Take it from a former college theatre geek, your school stage will most likely be the best and last stage you'll ever be on. 

After graduation, it’s all community theater and church ensembles, and who has the time for that? Nobody, that's who. 

Going to the farmers market is one of those things that just feels good.

They're quaint and novel, full of happy people buying hand-grown food, and sometimes, they even have a guy playing an accordian over by the pickle stand. It doesn't get better than that, my friends. 

On-Campus Farmers Markets

The lost art of growing vegitables and selling them directly to the community isn't lost yet at these awesome college, where students and professors alike are able to walk less than the length of the campus to a fresh and fantastic farmers markets.

Disc Golf is Everwhere on a College Campus

What do a statue of a university founder, a liberal arts building and an on-campus coffee shop have in common? They can all be disc golf targets.

That’s right, practically every college campus can and should be used as a disc golf course. It’s done at St. Mary’s University, where students get to throw over streams and historic graveyards. And it’s done at the University of Oregon, where students shoot through skinny, sprawling oak trees.

Why Chess is Such a Great Game

Chess may be one of the most important games in humanity.

It has taken geniuses and robots to master, has lasted through centuries of sporting, permeated across the globe and found its way onto almost every college campus in the country. Yet despite its prodigious back story, it is still one of the most democratic games, funneling down to just two individuals and their wits. 

Who is Wes Anderson?

Wes Anderson is half-average guy half-magician. His fashion, visual style, films and characters are all relatable, genuine, cool and absurdly different. He’s been making amazing cult films since the late 80’s, attracting fans of all ages and backgrounds. But at one point he was nothing more than a dude sitting in the back of a college play-write class, looking to make friends and talk movies. 

Having something you wrote with your name attached to it on a website that you didn’t create is resume gold. I'm not talking about your personal blog (which can still be very impressive), I'm talking about guest blogging. 

Guest blogging shows initiative, skill, and business cunning. And although it seems like everyone’s doing it, trust me, it’ll still make you stand out.

The best thing about SpoonUniversity is that its writers understand students. 

College students go to class. College students study in libraries. College students go on $3 hot dog runs at 2 a.m. What they don’t do—is cook. At least not as much as they could.

SpoonUniversity is fixing that.

Having trouble making friends in college?

Worry not - you're not alone! Making friends at any stage of life is a challenge, especially if you're somewhat shy, introverted, or -- we're just going to come out and say it -- "picky". 

Some think it should be easy to make friends in college since there are so many people around, but that's not true. If anything, the amount of options and directions students are pulled in can make it harder to find someone you can really get along with. 

Alright, if our calculations are correct then between move-in day and graduation day you could meet a Prince, a future American President, a surfer musician, a quarterback, or a genius.

You could also meet some other non-famous cutie hanging out around campus, but that wouldn't be as exciting. 

Competitive people can’t help being competitive just like lazy people can’t help being lazy. It’s simply in the blood. But for obvious (and unfortunate) culturally American reasons, teachers, parents and honest friends will berate you for being lazy, but wont for being overly competitive. That’s because competitive people tend to excel: top percentile grades, multiple extracurricular activities and popularized class rank are among some of the achievements of those who win at school.

Should You Listen to Your Parents College Advice?

For the most part, yes. When it comes to picking a degree or figuring out the finances then your parents can be a huge help.

But there are other things about they don't know a whole lot about, and that's because college has changed so much since they went. 

The basics are the same—find a subject you like and excel at it, enjoy your social life but don’t get carried away, try to get a degree in four years—but some of what they tell you will only get your hopes up or stress you out. Here's what's changed. 

College is Full of Surprises

There are a lot of cliches about college. Even friends, family, and former students can give you false information.

Every school (and people's perceptions of them) are different. And sometimes people just flat out embellish (you know those people). 

They say that Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but they're wrong, it’s called Google.

Everything you need to know to be able to write a good research paper, bring relatable current news to your classroom, back up your arguments and lead a rewarding life you can be found through Google.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there that will clutter your search results and force you to miss the good stuff. We don't want you to miss the good stuff. 

The End of Winter Break...

The start of the second semester is a strange time to be a student. For the past several weeks, your lifestyle has been the complete antithesis to educational development—you’ve probably finished a shameful number of Netflix shows, spent some quality time with hometown friends, and haven’t been waking up before 10 or reading from a textbook.

Now, you'll soon be going back to campus where you'll be asked to do the total opposite.

If you don’t start a club in college, chances are you never will. That’s just the truth. I mean it’s the perfect place. It’s full of active, fun-seeking, mostly adventurous students—enough to flock around most obscure/unique/weird interests you may have.

If you’re down with all this and want to continue or start an epic tradition, then listen up, because there are still some things that can go way wrong.