As Finals Season Approaches…
It’s 8:50 am. You’re shoving your books into your book bag while thinking of the GenChem test you have next week and the 2000-word essay due in three days that you still need to write. As you leave your room, you remember that your student org has a mandatory meeting tonight and you groan at the thought of having to stay up even later tonight to finish some homework. You grab your toasted bagel and hurriedly spread cream cheese on it while trying to chug a cup of coffee. Finally, you rush to class. It’s 9:15 am. You’re late for class.
At some point in our educational journey, I’m sure most of us have felt that there was way too much to do and not enough time to do it. As Finals season approaches, the amount of homework has doubled, and everyone is trying to keep up with extra-curricular activities while staying level-headed. Here are a few tips to help minimize the stress you may be feeling:
This sounds strange but sometimes you just need to stop and take care of yourself first. At school, everyone is always on the go. There’s always something to be done and we often forget to take time out during the day to stop and smell the roses (literally and figuratively). One thing I suggest doing is blocking out at least 30 minutes out in your schedule to do something that doesn’t involve academic work. Take a walk and enjoy the scenery, watch some funny videos on YouTube or even do some yoga in your room. Being consistent with this can be difficult but keeping with it will definitely help you out!
- Plan! Plan! Plan!
Speaking of schedules, plan work you’re going to do each day. You can buy a planner or use Google calendar or any other online planner. All you need to do is write down what you plan to do in a day and use your planner to keep track of due dates and events. You should be realistic about what you can achieve in a day. A lot of times, we think we can achieve so much but end up doing only half of what we planned. This leaves you feeling discouraged at the end of the day. I’ve found that writing all I need to do down helps me realize I don’t have as much work to do. This reduces a lot of the stress I feel about my workload and always improves my mood. Having a planner will help you avoid procrastination and manage your time better.
- Let your thoughts out
Sometimes we need to vent about how much homework we have or how little sleep we’ve gotten. For some people, a journal is best for this and for others talking to people helps better. Although talking through it with somebody can help, it’s important to not only focus on the negative experiences of the day. Try thinking of three or more things that went great in your day. It could be something as small as your professor ending class fifteen minutes early or as big as getting the summer internship you really wanted. Just don’t keep your feelings, both negative and positive, locked in.
- Seek help.
Sometimes, we really can’t do it all on our own no matter how much we try. And that’s okay. There’re several people on campus willing to help you manage the stress you’re feeling effectively. Reaching out to family, friends and mentors can be great help. At Vanderbilt, the Student Care Network is a network of services and resources that help promote health and wellness in Vanderbilt students. It comprises the following primary offices: the University Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, the Center for Student Wellbeing and the Office of Student Care Coordination. Know that the people in these offices care about your wellbeing and that they encourage you to seek help.
College can be stressful but there are several ways to deal with this. If you have any tips on dealing with stress you’d like to share or any general questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.