The Spring Break “Catch-up” Game

It happens every year…Spring Break!  Nursing students everywhere eagerly look forward to the opportunity to take a break, get some sleep, catch up on studying, or even {gasp!} get ahead in their classes!

But what usually happens?  Let me tell you what I did during Spring break when I was in nursing school.  (I was in a 13-month accelerated program, so I only had one Spring break during my program).  My hubby was in the Navy at the time, and this was before we had kids, so I pretty much had the week all to myself.  Bliss…

I intended to catch up on some reading I had gotten a little behind on.  I intended to review some A&P in preparation for our next Med-Surg unit.  I intended to work on (maybe even finish!) my part of a group project that was due later that semester.  I intended to complete the research for a paper in my Leadership class.  I intended to practice NCLEX -type questions everyday.  I intended to get a jump start on my reading and studying for ALL of my classes, so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed and risk falling behind once the semester restarted.  I intended to do a lot of things.

I didn’t accomplish any of it.

Instead, I spent the better part of the week laying on my futon, watching the entire first Season of “Heroes” (and part of Season 2…) on Netflix.  Finally, over the last weekend, I panicked.  I really had to scramble to complete the reading and assignments that were due during the upcoming week.  Definitely not my finest moment in nursing school!

It should come as no surprise that this is one study technique I do NOT recommend you imitate 🙂

What should I have done differently?  And what can you do right now, even if you’re in the middle of a less than productive Spring break?

  1. Plan your priorities.  For example, reviewing for Monday’s exam is pretty urgent, and definitely something you need to do during Spring Break.  Starting to compile a thorough study guide for your Finals?  Would be nice, but it can wait a few weeks.
  2. Schedule time for your chosen priorities on your calendar.  Don’t just assume you’ll get around to working on your priorities.  Pick a specific day and time during the week, write it down on your schedule, then treat it like a non-negotiable appointment.
  3. Allow yourself some intentional down time.  Actively plan to do a fun activity or hobby, especially with a friend…then do it!  You need a chance to relax, but unless you do it intentionally then you’ll probably just end up wasting your time on less important activities (like watching an entire season of “Heroes!”).

Follow these three little tips, and you’ll be refreshed and ready to return to school after Spring Break.  You won’t have to start the second half of the semester playing “catch-up,” and you’ll feel relaxed thanks to the time you spent having some guilt-free fun.

So tell me…what kind of things do YOU tend to do when you’re procrastinating?

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