The Collegian
Sunday, June 16, 2024

Spring time and the livin' is ... easy?

The saying, "out with the old and in with the new," seems pertinent to a lot of things happening on campus this spring. Seemingly a negative connotation, "out with the old" is, in fact, a positive attribution. For instance, if the snow that infested every corner of campus this winter hadn't gone away by now, I would probably be cracked out in my shoebox-sized room right now, eating Slim Jims all day, instead of going outside and enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

In another respect, "in with the new" has taken on a whole new meaning for me this week. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to acquire the position that the talented Maura "Superstar" Bogue has so successfully fulfilled this past academic year as Opinion Editor of The Collegian.

As this spring commenced, it dawned on me that we have only four weeks left of school. Four weeks to hike up those not-so-hot grades and start making that end-of-the-semester hustle consisting of the stuff that nightmares are made of.

With all of the stresses and anxieties this time of year has to offer, I thought it would be appropriate to offer up some spring-cleaning advice to make life easier in the final stretch of spring 2010.

1. Prioritize sleep

Sleep, like food and water, is one of life's necessities. It is physically impossible to live without sleeping, yet (as is evident at 3 a.m. in Boatwright on any given weekday) students attempt to defy nature's law. By forcing copious amounts of stimulants into their bodies (e.g. Adderall, coffee, Redbull, etc.), students force themselves to stay awake for the sake of papers, projects and exams.

Studies show that seven to eight hours of sleep a night (minimal) is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. So why do we, myself included, run on four to five hours of sleep a night (maximum)?

I recommend putting sleep over everything else. It's ultimately better to get a full night's sleep and be efficient during the day, than to be strung-out on caffeine and unproductive circa 2 a.m. in the library.

Lack of sleep merely creates a vicious cycle of HAP (half-assed productivity) or worse, PAIBLTIB1 (panic attacks induced by loud talking in B1).

2. Use Grad-Tracker

I could kick myself in the face for having just discovered Grad-Tracker. I had heard people talking about it for a while now, however, stuck in my contentment of not knowing if I'd graduate on time, I refused to look at the Web site.

Since registration was right around the corner, a friend who saw the look of desperation and confusion in my face when he asked what classes I was taking recommended that I use Grad-Tracker.

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Not only does it tell you what liberal arts requirements you have yet to fulfill, but also what Wellness classes and major/minor requirement classes need to be fulfilled, as well. Grad-Tracker even allows you to create "what if" scenarios where you can choose a major or minor while the system simultaneously maps out the rest of your life.

I recommend using Grad-Tracker before your junior and senior year. It's less stressful, super easy and in all honesty puts academic advisors to shame.

3. Befriend a professor

It's difficult to view professors as real people. I don't mean this as an insult by any means. What I mean to say is that it's hard to picture professors having a real life with a family, hobbies or for many, a personality. We see them day in and day out, but what they have to say, more or less, strictly pertains to the subject they teach. Because they control our grades and subsequently our happiness, I find that the authority they have over us creates a resentment that is hard to ignore.

It wasn't until last year that I realized professors were more than just brains. I'd even go as far as to say they (in general) have hearts, as well. I should have known this long before I actually did, simply because my mom is a professor and, well, a real person, just like many of the professors at Richmond.

I would highly recommend befriending a professor. Not in a creepy, let's meet off campus so no one thinks our friendship is weird way (because that, in fact, is really effing creepy), but rather, going to that professor's office hours now and again just to talk. It would probably start out regarding the class or academics in general, but I see no problem in talking with a trusted professor about more than just academics. If you're having other issues or you just need advice, having a good professor to talk with is a great asset.

4. Clean your room

I know what you're thinking. But before you put this article in the paper shredder, stop to consider the benefits of cleaning your room. Not only does cleaning your room help in the literal sense of clearing out the clutter, but it also clears out the clutter of the mind. Cleaning your room can act as a distraction from stress and can also help the brain to focus better after ridding the room of unnecessary waste. Having trash and books and clothes thrown about the room can cause subconscious and unnecessary anxieties that I'm sure we'd all prefer to avoid.

It's difficult to do a big clean around this time at Richmond, but maybe it's what we all need. Maybe we all need a big clean in an even bigger sense. Maybe we need to clean out our metaphorical closets; a spring cleaning in every sense of the word.

Contact opinion editor Liz Monahan at

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