Does your work suddenly feel trivial? Meaningless? Low-priority? How can you do your readings or work on your thesis when it feels like the world is crumbling around you? Regardless of how you feel about the elections, you might be finding it hard to concentrate on anything but politics. You are not alone. So many of us have experienced this before, caught between our simultaneous needs for self-care and academic productivity. With that in mind, I have compiled a short list of tips that might help you with your academics as you go through tough times.
1. Ask for extensions on assignments. Princeton students sometimes forget about this. I have personally asked multiple times, and have never been turned down. Professors want to receive quality work, and if you feel an assignment won’t be up to standards by the deadline, it is okay to ask for more time. Extensions are not to be abused, but they can give you the time you need to complete assignments on a less stressful schedule.
2. Every little bit counts. Sometimes, you don’t have the energy to do more than a few pages of reading. That’s okay! If you can space out your work and do a little bit at a time, you will have less to catch up on later when you are in an easier state of mind.
3. Do something that puts you in a good mood. Read a novel. Get ice cream. See a play. Personally, I like to go on long walks with friends. As Vidushi wrote in a recent post, taking time for things you find enjoyable fosters healthier work habits without compromising productivity. Stepping away from your assignments will let you recharge and be better prepared to work afterwards.
4. Work with people who make you comfortable. This has been really important for me in the past. In tough moments, I don’t like to be alone. Working beside people I care about, even in silence, makes me feel supported. It also means I have people right there in case I do need to talk.
5. Practice self-care. There’s a lot of work to get done, but it’s also important to put yourself first. Get sleep. Eat well. Take days off if you need them. For mental support, you might consider making an appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services. You could also reach out to the Carl A. Fields Center, Women’s Center, LGBT Center, or your Residential College Adviser, to name a few available resources. They can help you find community or direct you towards someone you can talk to.
Princeton work can be overwhelming, especially when things happen that are out of your personal control. Even if we are here to learn, it is important to put yourself first. There are steps you can take, resources available, and communities around to help you through difficult situations.
— Dylan Blau Edelstein, Humanities Correspondent