It’s that dreaded time of year again. The time of year when everyone has the most work to do and the least amount of motivation to do it. Although I’d like to be able to write about how to avoid stress completely during finals week, I know that’s not realistic. However, even though you might be stressing about your cumulative final on Friday or your paper due at midnight, here are some tips that will help better prepare you to deal with the anxiety.
- STOP pulling “all nighters” – No seriously, go to sleep. Depriving yourself of sleep (even when you’re taking Adderall) is damaging your ability to think clearly and make effective decisions. In a study done by Dr. Timothy Roehrs at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, results indicate that when comparing sleep-deprived subjects to fully awake subjects, the sleep-deprived subjects didn’t make reasonable decisions based on the task they were asked to perform. Sleep is also the time when your brain consolidates information and commits the important pieces into long-term memories. Without sleep, how are you going to remember all of the information for that history final you just crammed for?
- Exercise – I know that many of you probably rolled your eyes when seeing this, and thought, “If I had more free time, don’t you think I would’ve already done that?” I understand completely. Nobody has time throughout these tough couple of weeks, but it’s all about making time. The exercise will allow the release of endorphins that will make you happier and reenergize you for more productive studying.
- Complain (but only a little) – As you’ve probably come to realize at this point in your life, it never pays to hold in your emotions. If you’re really stressed out about your test and need someone to vent to, allot yourself a ten minute phone call with your friend or family member to get it off your chest. Once your not internalizing it anymore, you could allow time for more focused studying.
- Organize – There is absolutely no way any work is getting done on a desk filled with papers and a backpack overflowing with a mixture of old and new sticky notes. When you first sit down to do your work, take the first 15 minutes to organize your life. Clean up the clutter and create a chronological list of things you have to do. It helps if the highest priority is at the top, but some people prefer to knock out all the smaller tasks first so the last thing they have to tackle is the larger projects. Whichever order you choose, checking off items from your list will make you feel extremely productive.
- Eat right – While it might be easier to make those dinosaur nuggets you keep in your freezer for emergencies three nights in a row, it’s just not healthy. I know that it might be tempting to always take the easy way out and live off chips and candy for a week while you study, it’s necessary that your body gets the right food to fuel your brain. Try throwing in fruits and veggies as snacks to tie you over between meals. Also, try making meals with a protein and a carb in order to boost your energy level. Your body and mind will definitely thank you later.
- Do something you love! – Lastly, make sure to do something you love. While studying and finishing your work is important, make sure to fit in a small amount of time to unwind. Listen to music, surf the web, catch up on an episode of your favorite show, etc. Keeping your sanity is crucial during this stressful time of year.
It might be easier to just mentally check-out of school work because break is pushed back another week this year, but always remember what Beyoncé once said, “Whenever I feel bad, I use that feeling to motivate me to work harder.”
By Courtney Rosser