By Symone Fogg
English and Studio Art (Digital Art Concentration) majors at Georgetown University.
Two years later, I still remember my former roommate confronting me in our cramped dorm room to point out that I was “always watching something”. It was the week before finals and she was stressed. Her consistent sweet politeness was slowly but surely degrading into something slightly more curt and tangy. Her greetings were not accompanied by their usual smile. Her desk no longer its commercial-ready clean. It was a Thursday and I was informing her about my workload when she exclaimed: “But you’re always watching something”. I laughed. It was true. I don’t know how it worked out but somehow every time she returned to the dorm she caught me in the middle of Ugly Betty or in the last hour of Home Alone 3. But, of course, that is not always what I did with my time – those shows, movies, YouTube clips were my study breaks and they have become extremely valuable to my time in college.
Now, in no way am I promoting procrastination, laziness or Home Alone 3; all three have enough advocacy as it is. What I am promoting is spouts of recreational time, measured time set out to do whatever you desire when most of your time is spent doing what you may not desire to do. For example, I have half of a book of reading, an essay, and a language workbook to complete by tomorrow. In contrast, I crave watching Netflix and curling up in my comforter. Will that desire ever go away? Who knows? Do I have time satisfy it today? Not fully but in allotted time. That twenty minutes I take to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (or just twenty minutes of a movie) could grant me the energy or motivation I need to keep working through the night. Doing what you desire, in proportion with the time needed to complete your assignments, can give you motivation to keep typing, writing, reading, reporting, etc.
Of course, there are many more activities to do during a study break other than indulge in television watching. For me, I have spent my study breaks watching old or classic films to further my creative writing skills as I have pulled inspiration from filmmakers and directors. For some, they prefer to cook. Others may enjoy recreational reading, taking walks, sleeping, organizing their room and/or closet, or doing their nails. I met a student here who uses art therapy as a study break. In the heat of the Chemistry-homework-filled night, she takes out a pen and pad (which she keeps handy near her desk for times like these) to draw her emotions or something she’s imagining. At the end of the school year, her wall was covered with beautiful, intricate illustrations that manifested her hidden talent not only to visitors but to her as well. The same method was used by a student who recently graduated. He spent his study breaks in the art lab adding pieces to an animation, until finally, at the end of the semester, he had completed a short animated film.
What do you want to do? What do you want to do right now instead of writing that paper, or reading this essay? A question I always ask myself is: Will I be happy knowing that I spent my time on this? Ask yourself that and see what you discover.