On Stress: In the Eye of the Storm

By the time this blog is posted, I would have taken three of my finals, and will have two more to go. In fact, this will be posted in between an 8AM and 6PM exam, so I will either be cramming or napping, depending on the mood of the day. For better and for worse, my most difficult tests are towards to end of finals week, which allows ample time for both preparation and anxiety. Hours and hours of studying can quickly reduce to redundancy and unproductiveness, so I am taking a break and pouring some brain power into five small tips to help when you are in the middle of the storm during finals week:

1.     Plan. Know well in advance when and where your finals are, and plan your week around them. When to study, where to study, when to eat, etc. Waking up the day of an exam and having a set plan will make you feel organized and in control. Even if it’s as simple as “I’m going to leave my room at 9 AM, eat breakfast, and start studying at 10 AM”. Having goals and plans increases efficiency and morale.

2.     Relax. Spending all day everyday holed up somewhere studying and crying in between exams will turn you into a lifeless, vitamin D deficient, depressed zombie. A couple times a day, spend 30-60 minutes doing something enjoyable, whether that’s getting lunch with your friends, walking outside, or watching an episode of Narcos (10/10 would recommend).

3.     Sleep. I know I mentioned this in my last post, but sleep is way more valuable than staying up all night cramming, ESPECIALLY if you have a test the following day. And if you absolutely need to stay awake for something, chug a cup of coffee and take a 15-minute power nap. That’s about how long it takes for caffeine to hit your system, so you’ll feel both rested from the nap and energized from the coffee.

4.     Eat well. I know how tempting it is to eat chicken nuggets for every meal because it’s fast, cheap, and convenient, but don’t. Eating a balance of fat, carbs, protein, and sugar will put your body and mind in a good place, and won’t leave you feeling lethargic and still hungry.

5.     Be confident. After a certain point, you just have to trust that you learned everything you had to. Don’t go into an exam panicking and telling yourself you’re going to fail. Just calm down, take a breath, and tell yourself that you know this.

I am going to end this post there, short and sweet, because I need to get back to studying! Next week we’ll talk about post-finals and getting grades back (yikes)!