One of the toughest times in college is the final weeks of the semester. The pressure of completing those last few assignments in your classes, along with final exams can be exhausting. Stress levels run high when we are working on so many projects at the same time. We have to remember to take care of our health and our recovery during this time so we don’t become so overwhelmed and stressed. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can forget important things and our performance can be compromised. It’s hard to stay focused on recovery with so many things going on.
Within the last two weeks of the semester, I am usually a zombie. I will sit in the same chair for hours making note cards, reading my assigned book, and rewriting notes from previous classes. By the time I was finished with my study time, I was usually not better off than when I started. I would be tired from reading, my back hurting from sitting in the same position for extending amounts of time, and the information that I was reading did not really stick. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong and why I would be so tired. I was so focused on studying that I was also neglecting my recovery by not taking care of myself. I had to make some changes.
Nothing could really stop me from worrying about finals. As long as I was as prepared as possible I knew that I was doing the best that I could. However, I learned that some of the study habits I was practicing were not effective. Over the last few semesters, I have picked up a few tips that helped me to be more prepared and keep my stress level down. Finals are always stressful, but there are things that we can do to keep us from becoming overwhelmed.
Here are a few tips:
- Start studying early. Don’t wait until the week of your test, or assignment that is due, to start working on it or studying. Procrastination is a big reason why we get so stressed out at the last minute.
- Take study breaks. Research has shown that consistently reading and studying for several hours won’t help you to retain the information. Have a plan of studying for an hour and a half to two hours, and take a ten-minute break. Get up, walk around, or get a snack some time to relax you mind for a minute and then get back to it.
- Study in a comfortable position and at the same place. Sitting for several hours, even with breaks, can put a strain on your body. Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable chair and it holds your posture, as to not strain your back and neck. Also, studies have shown that studying in the same place every time you are working will help stop you from getting distracted and will help you retain information.
- Don’t neglect your recovery. This is the time you need to keep your recovery a priority! If you are not taking care of your mental health, then you can be tired, overwhelmed, and even more stressed. Not to mention you will probably have a difficult time focusing on what you are trying to accomplish. Now is the time to practice your methods of keeping yourself healthy, whether that is meditation or staying connected with your twelve-step support system. Keep your support system close and let them know what is going on with you.
- SLEEP! Pulling an all-nighter is never a good idea, by the time you get to the class and start to take your test, your brain is exhausted and all the information starts to bleed together. Your brain is like a computer that needs to be rebooted so it performs better. If you leave your computer on, with 20 tabs open on the internet window, it runs slower, is not efficient, and can even cause a system to break down. This is the same thing that happens to your brain. Sleep is crucial for your body to perform at its maximum level. Not to mention a great way to alleviate some stress!
These are just a few tips from a fellow college student who understands the stress that we go through! Don’t neglect yourself or your mental health. College is difficult and stressful, but we can minimize the stress by being prepared, taking care of our bodies, and our recovery!
Life of Purpose Treatment
3848 FAU Boulevard, Suite 100
Boca Raton, FL 33431