November Monster

Author: Katie Robinson


It’s November, which to me is more fondly known as “That Month When Everything Happens at the Same #*$#@! Time.” It’s a time of over-caffeination, frantically rushing even when you’re not late and to-do lists longer than the research paper you have due in the morning. It’s easy to favor rolling yourself into a comforter-burrito and skipping class for a week to actually try to find the light at the end of the workload tunnel. 

I empathize with those of you who feel like there’s something hiding under your bed and it’s telling you you’re still not done with all your homework, reminding you about how much laundry you haven’t done, and how many times you’ve skipped going to the gym, which is why I’d like to offer a few tips for conquering the November Monster. 

Tip 1: To-do lists aren’t supposed to stress you out, they’re supposed to help you. I am a compulsive list-maker. If I don’t write it down, it won’t get done. I spend a lot of time making and re-making lists, and one of my favorite things to do is cross things off of them. I find it satisfying to get things done, even when they’re as simple as “reply to group project email.” When you make a list of all the things you need to get done, include even the most menial tasks and actively check to see what you can scratch off. The more you get done, the better you feel. Even if the big things stay on your list for a few days, don’t freak out. Break larger tasks down into smaller sections that you can do over a few days, and voila! You can throw away that piece of paper, and start on a whole new list. 

Tip 2: Time management isn’t just something teachers like to yell at us about. It’s actually one of the most important skills you can learn as an undergraduate. Being busy can be fun if you understand what type of time constraints you’re working with. Learning the balance between getting work done and relaxing is the hardest and most important part of time management. It’s okay to spend an evening catching up on your Hulu shows, if the internet loads them, or going out to dinner with your friends – in fact, I’d encourage the occasional “me time” – as long as you level out that time with an equal amount of work. I like to work with a reward system. If I finish this article early, I’ll spend tomorrow evening watching the final season of “Breaking Bad.” And I’ll love it because I’m not procrastinating!

Tip 3: Don’t let your stressed hat become your sassy hat. There’s no need to take your anxiety out on other people just because they’re there. Take a deep breath, leave a room, put in headphones, anything you need to do to avoid getting unnecessarily angry just because you haven’t slept enough. There’s also no need to complain about how much you have to do because, truth be told, you’re not special. Everyone has a lot to do, and you won’t get a medal for having “more” than anyone else. 

All in all, life isn’t designed to stress you out. Don’t let the November Monster sneak up on you. Enjoy the rest of your semester, no matter how busy you are. It’ll be over before you know it, and you’ll miss it, I promise.