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Maintaining a Healthy Mindset During Midterms

Ah, midterms. The thing every student detests, yet
is inevitably faced with each school year. As Homecoming fades out of our memory and real-life
begins to settle in, we
are suddenly bombarded with multiple tests, each worth upwards of 10% of the final grade. From first years to Ph.D. students and everyone in between, the pressure to do well becomes all-encompassing, and many people disregard their wellbeing during this time. However, it is crucial for students to go out of their way during these few weeks to maintain a healthy mindset. The following is a comprehensive list on how to stay healthy during those dreaded midterms. 

    Many people, when faced with stressful situations, begin overeating, or “stress eating”. Stress eating is a very real phenomenon experienced almost universally, and the science behind it is shockingly simple. According to Harvard Health, when a person continually experiences stress, the adrenal glands atop the kidney release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol then increases appetite and motivation, often motivating people to eat. Although one cannot depress the release of cortisol, you can choose what to fuel your body with. Opting for high protein vegetables such as spinach and asparagus which are relatively quick and easy to cook (find recipes here) are a much better option than a burger and fries. Pairing high protein veggies with a small portion of chicken (or chicken substitute) ensures a well-balanced meal, which is a main component of maintaining a healthy mindset. Everyone has fallen victim to stress eating at least once, but it is important to remember that maintaining a healthy mindset means treating your body right.

    Another way to maintain a healthy mindset during midterms is to know about and
utilize the many mental health services offered by the University of Guelph.
UoG has many free resources for students dealing with poor mental
health, and are available 5 days a week. The Student Support Network (SSN) offers drop-in peer support
lead by students for students. Anyone is free to drop in and speak with a trained volunteer for support and a person to talk to. The SSN,
located in the J
.T Powell Building operates Monday to Friday from 12 pm – 10 pm. The SSN
located in McLaughlin Room 111 operates Monday/Tuesday from 2 pm – 6 pm, and Wednesday/Thursday from 4 pm – 8 pm. There is also individual counselling services and/or academic support offered in the J.T. Powell Building from 8:15 am – 4:15 pm. These are just a few of
the ways that
UoG aims to support its students. Problems one experiences can often
be solved by talking them through with another person, which is why it is important to know all the ways you can feel supported during midterms, or at any other time. 

    Another crucial (albeit sometimes overlooked) step involves developing good study habits and test-taking skills. Per my experience, I have found that the best way to study for a midterm is to review past midterms and exams. Old midterms are the best way to prepare for a midterm because they let you know what to expect. Feeling prepared before
a midterm is directly correlated with having a good mindset. The test-taking skill I rely on the most is simple. I take one deep breath through my nose and let it out through my mouth. This has always calmed my over-anxious nerves before a test, and I somehow feel more prepared after having done this. 

    Although midterms unequivocally suck, they are a part of school and thus a part of life. We must deal with them, but it is possible to deal with them in a way to maintain a good mindset. Fuelling your body with good food, taking advantage of the resources offered, and knowing how to prepare for a midterm to yield the best grade is all part of a recipe for good wellbeing. It is important to remember that a midterm is just a grade, and a grade is just a number, and your worth is not dependent upon a grade. All that matters is that you try your best. Good luck on midterms, Gryphons! 


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