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by Kaitlin McManus | March 08, 2019

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Woman Cherry Blossoms Backpack

It’s SPRING BREAK—or at least it’s really, really close. But do you know what comes first? Midterms. And travel planning. And a whole mess of stuff. I know it probably feels like the semester just started (and it kind of did), but there are some things that you should probably get around to now that you’ve only got a few weeks left in the school year.

1. Focus on midterm exams.

Midterms often make up a fairly significant portion of your final grade in a class, so these are tests you’re going to want to take seriously. Especially if you’re in a class (or two!) where your grade is based solely on the midterm and the final. Like I said, it probably feels like you’re just finally in the groove of school—so don’t let these tests and papers sneak up on you. Make sure to block out time to study and write. If you’re someone that studies well in a group setting, see if you can get some people in your class together for a study sesh. If not, now might be the time to find your favorite workstation at the library, and get cracking.

2. Go somewhere fun!

Look, I’m not your mom—I’m not here to tell you to just sit down and study. Spring break is made for having fun—that’s the point of it! It wasn’t until college that I really got the chance to travel without my parents (or my friends’ parents or another authority figure) and I could finally go where I wanted (read: could afford) and do what I liked. So whether you can/want to make it out to spring break Meccas like Panama City Beach or South Padre Island, or you go for something a little more low key (road trip, anyone?), make sure that you take this opportunity to get out there and make the most of a rare mandated week off. Once you start working, you lose breaks and structure like this, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of the time and come back relaxed and refreshed.

3. Take stock.

Where you at? I mean, like, in your general life trajectory. It’ll be time to register for next year’s classes pretty soon—are you on track to complete your degree as planned? Now is definitely the time to make a graduation requirements checklist, and see where you stand, both with gen eds and major requirements. No one wants to be the person who takes a “victory lap” semester because they forgot about a fine arts requirement. So count up which requirements you’ve met, which you still need, and any new ones the school might have announced (it happens) so you can plan your next fall class-load accordingly.

4. Finalize your summer plans—or at least start thinking about them.

Unlike spring break, summer break shouldn’t be all fun and games. There should certainly be some—if you haven’t set foot in a pool or seen all your friends from high school by Labor Day weekend, I count that as a summer wasted—but summers are also your chance to get some valuable work experience. Whether that’s an internship (which hopefully you’ve lined up already, but there’s still plenty of time to secure one if you haven’t), a more traditional job, a service trip, a study-abroad program, or something else entirely, make sure you’re doing something more meaningful this summer than trying to have as much fun as possible.

The semester is going to be over before you know it. (I know, right? Terrifying.) So take some time now—before the whirlwind that comes with finals, moving out of your dorm, and saying goodbye to friends—to make sure that you’ve got your house in order, as well as take a well-deserved break. Best of luck on your midterms, and happy spring break!

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