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Cat in the Stax: Leveraging Your Working Break

In lieu of our traditional Spring Break, this semester Villanova is giving us two working breaks, with our first one being this Wednesday and Thursday. Below I’ve shared three tips about how to make the most of your working break and ensure it’s both a productive and relaxing two days.

#1 Evaluate Your Priorities This time is supposed to be a mental reset, so it is important to make sure you are prioritizing your mental health on these two days. As we get into the semester, I’m finding more and more that my priorities for the day are focused around the assignments I have due in the following days or the readings I have for class that night. But this week, I’m restructuring my priorities and putting relaxing activities, such as going for a walk or reading a book for fun, at the top of my list.

#2 Actually WORK It can be tempting to see this working break as two days off, especially if you are lucky enough to have a professor who is not holding classes, but remember this is an opportunity to catch up on or stay on top of your work! As you’ll see through my other tips, your work can look a little different this week, but you don’t want to end this week feeling more behind and overwhelmed than you did on Monday. Make yourself clear goals then crush those goals!

#3 Build Connections with Professors & Librarians This week, I’m focusing on building relationships with more of my professors. Many professors are holding extra office hours this week to talk to students about projects, papers, or exams. Leverage that extra time and drop-in to form a relationship. Subject librarians are an additional resource that you can connect with this week! Whether it’s just to say hi and see if they have any thoughts on your research topic for this semester or to ask for help finding that last elusive source you need for a paper, Falvey’s subject librarians are ready and available to help. Find a lists of all subject librarians here.

#4 Focus on Relaxation & Productivity On my “days off” when I still want to make sure I’m being productive and getting work done, I find little ways to make the day feel more relaxing. Maybe usually you’re up at 8 AM every morning to start working. This week, instead, let your day start at 10 AM or 11 AM and still end at the same time. Or, instead of working at your desk, do some work from bed or the couch. Those little tweaks to your routine may make it feel more like a break while still letting you stay on top of your work.

This is the first of two of Villanova’s working breaks this semester. Use this one as a trial run to see what works best for you. If you have any other tips to share or your plans to make the most of today and tomorrow, share in the comments!

Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.

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Remote Discoveries: A Synthesis of Advice for Writing at Home


As we all continue to adjust to the “new normal” new difficulties emerge in different facets of our lives. One of the academic challenges I have been struggling with is maintaining my writing output for classes and my thesis.

Although merely a small wave in a sea of much greater challenges many face, writing is, I am sure, a struggle under the present circumstances; however, we still are pressed to do so.

By no means am I suggesting self-help tips that could bear the title “Follow these five steps to make your quarantine a productive one,” or any other nonsense that glosses over the structural failings and inequalities that led to this crisis. Rather, I put these suggestions together with hopes that writing may help some of us cope with the frustration, sadness, and anger that accompanies these times.


Considering that many of us have different comfort zones, I wanted to provide a couple methods, as writing is certainly not a one-size-fits-all affair.

Deborah J. Cohan offers some guiding points to maintain writing output while dealing with numerous responsibilities. Although this piece is geared more towards faculty who must balance numerous pressures, this also applies to students who have multiple responsibilities.

Nue Lee espouses a daily writing schedule, embracing the repetition of a strong structure as a means to reliably get words onto the page. On tip I found particularly helpful was, “Write fast now, edit slow later”. This type helps me avoid getting bogged down in specifics, holding off on deep reading until editing.

Finally, Christine Tully provides alternative suggestions for those who prefer to do all of their writing on a single day of the week. Her suggestions focus around properly planning that single day of writing, in order to not procrastinate or become overwhelmed at the prospect of writing for hours on end.

Most importantly–and this is my own personal thought about writing currently–write for a reason. Whether this be to cope with the situation, working towards your own betterment, or to make our own small contribution to solutions in the future.

Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. He is currently distraught over Bernie Sanders dropping out of the democratic primary.



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Last Modified: April 9, 2020

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