Productive Procrastination– What to do when you aren’t studying

Maryellen Stohlman Vanderveen ‘19
Assistant Copy Editor
Be Worrell ‘17j
Contributing Writer

Midterms are beginning to wind down and while the end of midterms unfortunately does not mean the end of all your schoolwork, finishing all that work does mean that you have earned the right to take a break from studying for at least an afternoon.

Here are some ideas for how you can be productive while you procrastinate on beginning that final paper or starting the next chapter of reading.


Doing laundry and cleaning your room

If you’re anything like me, homework takes precedence over everything during midterms, while chores and things such as my room’s tidiness tend to fall by the wayside. However, almost nothing can be more refreshing or uplifting than taking an hour or two to clean my room and get caught up on laundry after a particularly busy week. The satisfied feeling of finally being organized once again is truly irreplaceable.

Reading for pleasure

Another thing that tends to get forgotten during the busy times of the year is reading for enjoyment. We get assigned so much reading over the course of a semester that the last thing we usually want to do at the end of the day is pick up another book, but taking time to read something you are really interested in may be the perfect thing to do in order to relax while stimulating your brain a little. Who knows? Maybe what you read will spark some creative ideas for your next paper or even inspire a summer research project.

Taking a (long) well-deserved nap

This one does not even need an explanation. After staying up all night to finish papers and skipping weekend naps to study more, you deserve a whole week of relaxation. Unfortunately, one long Sunday nap will probably have to suffice.

Go for a walk in the gardens or along Paradise Pond

The outdoor plants of the Botanical Garden will not be around for much longer. As the weather begins to cool, take advantage of your last opportunity to relax outside with nature by exploring the different families of plants that make up the Systematics Garden located right outside the Lyman Conservatory. To rejuvenate your soul, take a meditative walk along Mill River. Begin your journey at the ruins of the old Japanese Tea Hut (its location can still be found on old campus maps) and walk along the path, away from Smith College. Follow the river but keep right when the ground starts to get sandier. The most rewarding part of this trek will be finding the labyrinth and experiencing the gratitude garden, which will be on your right side towards the end of your walk.

Catch up on a show

Okay, watching TV may not be the most productive thing in the world, but you worked hard during midterms and your Netflix account missed you while you were gone. Give it some love and get caught up on your favorite TV series or start a new one. I recommend Portlandia or another sketch-based show like Key and Peele or Saturday Night Live. They are comedies that are guaranteed to get you laughing even after a particularly rough day; and because the episodes are broken into shorter segments, you can pause between skits to avoid getting sucked into watching an entire episode, as often happens when we watch a series with one central plot and cliffhangers at the end of each scene.

You’ve worked hard this semester and definitely deserve a reward for having finished midterms. Hopefully this guide can offer a couple of ideas for relaxation you can indulge in without feeling too guilty about not starting the rest of the work ahead of you this semester!

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