Well, we’ve made it to the last week. The semester is drawing to a close, and soon we can all relax–or at the very least take on some other more insidious kind of holiday related stress. But before the break must come exams. Even first year students know that exam week is a trying time when the ill-timed bark of a neighbor’s dog can disrupt the flow of an entire essay, and fill one with the kind of senseless rage that only a gray December can induce. Fortunately for you, the tireless staff at The Campus Voice has been hard at work thinking up ways to keep that all-too-familiar feeling of creeping dread safely tucked away–at least until the relatives arrive.
Read on for some (partly) tried and true ways to end the semester with grace.
Create a Battle Plan
Get together all your notes from all your classes, dust off your syllabi and open up a new Word document. A battle plan doesn’t have to follow a rigid set of rules, so long as it works for you. Try categorizing assignments in descending order of importance, or create separate modules to study a large volume of notes in 20-30 minute sessions. The goal here is to create a system you know you can follow that won’t kill you or make you a principal shareholder of Starbucks.
Break Up Large Tasks
Your battle plan will probably look overwhelming at first. Henry Ford once said that “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” If you’re on top of things and don’t procrastinate, this becomes one of life’s rare irrefutable truths. But let’s be honest, if you’re currently in a panic there’s a good chance that procrastination is woven into your DNA. Of course, next semester you will change. None of this will be an issue because your newly cultivated time management skills will make Henry Ford himself blush. Right?
Reward Yourself for Every Finished Item
Humans are easy to condition. You can use this to your advantage by tampering with your own psychology. As soon as you finish a chunk of study material, celebrate with a small reward to yourself. Use your imagination. Some of the best things in life can happen in 15 minutes.
Don’t underestimate the power of a long, cleansing ramble. Having a friend listen to your troubles and offer advice will make you feel better able to handle the work in front of you. If you can’t find someone compassionate enough to hear you out, choose a victim and do it anyway–they’ll get over it in time.
Set Aside Some Time to Go for a Walk
Any type of physical activity is good for releasing stress, but walking is uniquely suited to alleviate that caged-in feeling that often arises when you realize that your life is on pause until you’ve pulled at least several thousand words out of your head and onto paper. Going for a short hike on one of our numerous local trails can go a long way towards easing the pressure, but if you’re not careful you’ll do more harm than good to your mental state. The key is to fully immerse yourself in the world around you. When you walk, you should be trying to get out of your head. All of your worries will be waiting for you back at the trailhead, so enjoy the time you have without them.