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Top 10 things to do after your J-term ends

We have two weeks to prepare for spring semester now that January term has ended — here are ways to fill that time

While we all want to be 100 percent productive all the time, it is so important to take the time you are given to ensure you don’t burn out halfway through the semester.
While we all want to be 100 percent productive all the time, it is so important to take the time you are given to ensure you don’t burn out halfway through the semester.

1. Catch up with friends 

Given the pandemic, a crazy two-week class schedule and recent events in the news, your friends may need your support or someone to talk to. Once online classes start up again, it can be difficult to talk to each other as much as you want, so spend this time catching up and enjoying time with your friends. This is also a great time to plan in advance to see each other in safe, socially-distanced ways after spring semester is over. 

2. Do some pre-spring cleaning

For students, spring cleaning that actually takes place during the spring is often not conducive to our schedule. When you get that organizing and cleaning itch, it is often right in the middle of midterms or some other very inconvenient time. Whether you have returned to Charlottesville or are still at home, this is the perfect time to clean your space and declutter your belongings. 

3. Spend some times outdoors 

I know that I personally neglect the outdoors — especially in the time of COVID-19, it is easy for students to never leave their home or dorm. Spend this time going on a walk, reading on your front doorstep or just going on a drive. Be sure to bring your mask and stay six feet apart. Though it may be cold, getting some fresh air after spending five hours in front of a computer every day can be really helpful. 

4. Reflect on J-term

Did you learn anything about yourself while participating in an intense two-week learning experience? Maybe you learned that taking notes on pen and paper was the most helpful for you. Or, if you are like me, you found that as much as you hate it, keeping your camera on during class actually helps you stay focused. Try taking a moment to write down what you learned about yourself during this time and see how you can apply these lessons to the spring semester. 

5. Try some new recipes 

It can be hard to justify trying new meal plans or recipes when you are in the throes of the spring semester. Now that J-term is over, look into some meal ideas you were looking at but never got the opportunity to do. I know I will be dabbling in making bread from scratch and some more complex meal prep ideas. This way, you will have an idea of how long that food will take and how difficult it really is. 

6. Create a study playlist

We’ve all been there — we are prepared to study for a midterm, but we get sidetracked by updating or even creating a whole new study playlist. Now is the perfect time to compile your favorite study beats into a list for your future self. Listen to other study playlists or your favorite songs to create a new list suited to your tastes. If this is too much, you can update your current playlist that you use to study or personalize playlists made by others. This will save you so much time when you eventually start studying. 

7. Build the foundation for healthy habits

Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to start working on habits you want to keep during the spring semester. Going to bed earlier, staying hydrated and working out are habits that you can work on before the stress of the spring semester comes around. When the semester does start, you will already be used to fitting these habits into your everyday schedule so it will feel natural. 

8. Look into your spring classes

The bookstore has already released an early textbook list for spring classes. This is the perfect time to do some comparison shopping for used books from various places. Doing this early can also account for longer shipping times. You can also check UVACollab for some preliminary syllabi or other information that can help you prepare for your spring classes. As someone who prefers to plan ahead, this extra time to prepare for the semester ahead is quite valuable for preparing my mind

9. Plan your spring semester 

Given that we will now have four break days throughout the semester to replace spring break, now is the time to see how you want to recharge. Whether you prefer to stay indoors and binge-watch films or you find hiking to be a great break, planning how you will spend these days can stop you from just doing more work during then. This is also a great time to set goals for yourself and make plans to see friends in a quarantine-friendly way. 

10. Relax

J-term is already extremely exhausting but adding a pandemic on top of that can really drain you. Spend the next two weeks before the spring semester starts listening to your body and practicing self-care. Doing so can prevent that feeling that you’ve been on high-speed since the beginning of the year. While we all want to be 100 percent productive all the time, it is so important to take the time you are given to ensure you don’t burn out halfway through the semester. 

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