While the holidays still reign superior for the title of “most wonderful time of the year”, the jolly season can’t come without a few hard weeks—especially as a university student. So, come one, come all to your last hurdle before you can fully submerge yourself in the holiday spirit and drink more hot chocolate than you can handle. Let’s not only survive exams, but focus on how we can defeat the exam season blues!
Whether this is your first exam season or your eighth, congrats! Take a deep breath because you’re so so close to finishing that class you can’t stand and moving onto a beautiful multi-week break. I know it seems tempting to lock yourself in your room right after that 12th week of class and stay there until your first exam. However, that probably isn’t the most effective way to ensure you pass all your finals. Especially because it’s so important to take some non-study time for yourself during these stress-filled weeks.
One of the most important things I do to maintain balance in my life is talking to friends once a day. While that seems easy to do, it’s surprising how little you actually see other humans during exam time. It seems like everyone’s either cooped up in their rooms, typing notes or trying to understand their course material, so leaving their study dungeons to socialize is the last thing on their mind. But interaction is important! Even just cooking dinner with your housemates, watching a couple of episodes of a show you’ve seen 100 times, or walking to a friend’s house for a quick catch-up. No matter what you do, it’s essential that you take effective breaks from your intense study sesh.
Another idea is to take a walk through downtown Kingston. The landscape is absolutely stunning in the winter months, despite how cold it can be. You likely have holiday shopping you need to get done, and the unique and fun shops on Princess Street are a perfect fit! Or, if you don’t have time to spend a few hours downtown, you can always make a one-stop cafe trip. Grab a coffee, snack, or both to treat yourself for all your hard studying. You can even use your favourite Kingston cafe as a reward system throughout exam season! For example, once you finish reviewing three chapters, you’ve earned yourself a coffee at Balzac’s or Crave.
As a Kingston-specific activity, check out the local Holiday Market at 370 King Street West, right beside the Isabel Bader Center from December 3rd-18th, 2022. There are so many local artists, so you are guaranteed to find a unique gift for someone you love. Or, if markets aren’t really your thing, take the bus to the Cataraqui Center for the day! Bonus: Queen’s students are able to access the bus for free.
So, there you have it! Just a few of my favourite ways to take study breaks and spend some time having fun during this exam season. Overall, just make sure to periodically leave your house over these upcoming weeks of pure studying, even if you transport your study sesh to the library or a new cafe! Enjoy the fresh winter air, check in with your friends, and get ready for an amazing holiday season!