How to beat the winter bluesJuly 07, 2017

Vacation week is about to come to an end, and your coursemates couldn't stop talking about the game between the Sydney Swans and Melbourne Demons. You're not a passionate supporter of both teams, though. You didn't tell them about your extended reading during the holidays, as you might be seen as mental. But you're not. (Then again, you prefer the artificial air coming from the (air) conditioner than the real one during this time of winter. Australia may be a paradise for those who want a stroll, but you have other things on mind.)

You found out, rather the hard way, that writing a book critique can be more challenging that it looks. And it would turn out the older students aren't trying their darn best to scare young students. You rather read on a deliberate pace, which have caused you a bit of trouble at the very beginning.(You almost miss the deadline on your first assignment.) You figured that you might read during your vacation week. You're a homebody. (There's nothing wrong about it.) You're an introvert. (You're not the only one in your department.) You used to be a heavy reader. (It gave you a slight advantage at the start of the term.) Besides, you once enjoyed long hours of reading. (And you wanted to recapture that feeling.) This should come handy, as lecture will commence in a few weeks.

You're thankful that you have many items on your list, but you'll be tempted to turn on the telly (and probably check out the latest on the Swans and Demons). You rather want to be productive during this time of the year, though. Moreover, you wouldn't think about what have been several months ago. It won't help you at all, so you look forward to a clean slate. There's nothing wrong about planning about the coming months. In fact, you should have done it during the previous semester. It would have helped you handle the pressure of beating the deadline on a book critique. How can you beat the winter blues: You can be more active; you can read during your idle moments; and you can catch up with your family and mates.

Students get the blues, but three things should get them out of it

You must be fit and nimble. You would know after the Swans were too much for the Dees, but you would disapprove the unsportsmanlike gesture. You weren't a born prodigy, so you should do some changes in your routine. There must not be any changes in your sleeping hours. As far as fitness is concerned, you must keep a flexible schedule. (The human mind sometimes work in mysterious ways, as there would be certain mornings when you rather finish your paperwork.) And you would try your best to eat fruits on a frequent basis. (It's hard to turn down a flatmate's request for a beer or two.) This routine, almost ideal as you want to be, will give you energy to keep up with the demands of the coursework. You must be razor sharp, as far as your mental faculty is concerned. Lethargy will yield opposite result, and you almost paid for it dearly last semester.

You'll learn valuable lessons during your reading time. There's a common thread binding the most popular novels in Modern literature. All authors try to break away from the traditional way of storytelling, as they would be influenced by the tumultuous happenings that turned Europe upside down. You won't dismiss those lessons while composing a draft on your assignment on a certain Victorian novel, as Queen Victoria's reign should have profound effect on the authors of the 19th century. (It's not hard to connect the dots from there.) If it's a science fiction book by H.G. Wells, then you don't have to think hard and long about it. Your professors will call it stock knowledge, but you see it differently. It's not daily savings time, though.

You need support. You can put social media into good use, as Facebook can be a platform to keep an open line. You need to stay connected as possible, even if you rather keep your petty troubles by yourself. If you aren't open about how the demands of the coursework can make you isolated at times, then talk about anything (or everything) with your mates. It doesn't have to be sharing of ideas (on how to write a book critique). This should give you some assurance, which will help you keep going during those tested weeks.

Here are some thoughts to live by

You must spend your time wisely, which you should have figured out during your first year in the university. You may consider reading a chapter or two between other tasks, if not quick reading on several (or more) chapters during your wide-awake moments. You would need all the knowledge, which should help you construct a better book critique.

You must not hesitate to ask for help when you're stumped on your paper writing. And never make assumptions along the way. (You learned about it the hard way during the previous semester.) Asking questions is not a sign of weakness, not even stupidity (on your part).

You must get out when there's a chance to do so. After all, nothing will beat the cool air. (It doesn't have to be artificial at all.) It will invigorate you, and probably inspire you to think of better ideas for your next assignment.

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