Because time flies when you’re stressed, it is almost halfway into the semester. For some students, this might be a time when the beginning of the semester flurry starts to die down but for most, the pressure of productivity is only ramping up.
So now that we’ve navigated beginning-of-semester blues, how do we deal with midterm stress? How can students attempt to make sense of papers and exams when they might be feeling lost?
Here are a few tips to help make sense of the midterm mess that may be your life right now:
- Schedule your time: it’s easier than it sounds. Block out hours or half-hours dedicated to different assignments or different classes. This might mean changes of scenery throughout the day or study session to keep you stay focused. But for all of the hours that you reserve for schoolwork, you can reserve time to relax as well.
- Stay organized: list it out. Lists are a great way to keep track of everything you need to do – in school and in life – and you get the added bonus of feeling super satisfied when you check things off little by little. By laying out every single task you need to complete, it somehow takes the stress off of all of the things going on in your life. When everything you have to do is laid out in front of you, it magically becomes more manageable.
- Figure out what works for you: no two students are the same. Some people love listening to music while they study, others need silence. Some love to study out in public places, others prefer the privacy of their own home. We all have different sets of study habits best suited for our needs. Before you know things are about to get crazy, take some time and figure out what study habits are best for you. Check out different focus playlists on Spotify, find your favorite coffee shop to work at, or figure out what spot in your home is your favorite to work in. Finding your sweet spot could be the thing between you and your student success.
- “Do Not Disturb” is your best friend: no distractions mean work gets done faster. While our iPhones are endless fountains of information, they’re also where productivity often goes to die. When studying, eliminate the possibility of distractions by hitting Do Not Disturb and turning your phone over. By doing this, you’re already on the way to finishing your work quicker than you had if you’d opened endless Instagram notifications. Checking your phone is also a solid way to reward yourself after an hour’s hard work.
- Take time for yourself: self-care is most important. Between study sessions or essay-writing bursts of inspiration, take time to rest your brain and body. If you’ve had a long day of balancing work and school, treat yourself to that Netflix binge you’ve been needing for a while. Your body and mind aren’t invincible, and if you don’t tend to them, stress and pressure will eat away at your well-being. No one has ever regretted prioritizing their mental health. Even if it means turning in an hour earlier during a night of studying, your body and mind will thank you.
Midterms seem like a time that takes no prisoners, but if you find a groove in managing your academic life and personal life, we’ll get through it. Lean on your friends, visit your professors during office hours with questions and take good care of yourself. Everyone deserves the chance to be happy, healthy and successful students.