top of page

Surviving the Last Trimester of the Year, Part II: Heavy Workloads & Late Nights

The last trimester of the year is simultaneously the most fun and the hardest to get through. With spring arrives the sun, end-of-year activities, and the restlessness that comes with summer’s imminent arrival. Last year, I wrote an article on ways to stay motivated and positive during the spring trimester, so nearly a year later, I’m back with a sequel: How to Survive the Heavy Workload of Trimester Three.

Sometimes, the most challenging thing about a heavy workload isn’t how difficult the assignments are, but rather how many have to be completed. A large quantity of assignments often leads to long working hours, and while sleep is a vital part of success as a student, it can be difficult to avoid late nights. Here are some tips on managing the heavy workload that comes hand-in-hand with spring:

STEP 1: Preventing Late Nights When Possible

Although late nights are an unavoidable rite of passage for most people, it is possible to limit how often they occur. My biggest tip for this is to use every minute wisely. Take breaks whenever you need to, just avoid losing track of time when you can. Every second you’re not doing something can be used to actively get ahead or actively take a break, just know which you’re choosing. Then, take additional time you find to work on assignments in small chunks. For instance, read your textbook on the bus or practice a quizlet from 8:00-8:10 before class meeting instead of spending time on your phone. If you do this and use your frees wisely (whether “wisely” means doing work or relaxing), time after school will feel a lot more manageable.

Also, sleep really is important! Not only will you work faster when well-rested, but it will also be easier to stay up late when necessary if you slept well the night before.

STEP 2: Accepting Late Nights

When you can, try to predict upcoming busy nights. Decide ahead of time which assignments you want done before the late night, and make sure you are well-rested and nourished when it comes.

The first thing to do on an overwhelmingly busy night is to rank your assignments in order of urgency: When is each assignment due? Which assignment has the biggest impact on my grade? Which class do I need to boost my grade in the most, and how much will completing its corresponding assignment help me? Is there another time I could complete some assignments? Do some assignments require more focus/energy than others? Which assignments need to be completed most thoroughly? Use these questions decide what order you will complete your assignments in. However, don’t spend too long on this step -- the most important thing is that you start working!

STEP 3: Actually Staying Awake During Late Nights

The most difficult part about late nights is staying awake while getting through work. So, I’ve compiled a bunch of tips to help you stay up, courtesy of myself and other KPS students:

  • Eat nutritious foods such as peanut butter or cold/crunchy foods such as apples.

  • Chew gum.

  • Change your location. If you normally work in your room, try going to the kitchen. Walking around and the change of scenery should help you. No matter what, don’t work on/in your bed -- it’ll make you even more tired!

  • Take more, shorter breaks. One of my favorite ways to do this is by listening to just one song of my choice after finishing an assignment or reading a chapter of a book. Try to avoid longer breaks -- not only do they take up a lot of precious time late at night, but they can also make it harder to start working again.

  • Drink a cup of ice water.

  • Put on shoes to feel more awake/productive.

STEP 4: Knowing Your Limits During Late Nights

Do what you can. It’s unreasonable to stay up all night doing schoolwork. (Also, sleep is as important as studying if you have a big test the next day.) Teachers are understanding people -- just don’t be afraid to communicate with them! Above all, your health should come first. You got this!

Disclaimer: This advice, including the methods for staying awake, is based on what the author has learned through her years as a student. This article does not condone staying up late very often nor does it guarantee that said methods will work for everyone.

bottom of page