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How To Push Through That End Of Semester Slump

With finals week coming up, a lot of people are experiencing burnout, excess stress, anxiety, and so on. The last few weeks of the semester are never easy, but here are some psychological tips that can help when times are  overwhelming. 

First off, confidence can help a ton for your finals, especially for women in STEM majors. This notable study showed that standing with your hands on your hips like a superhero for two minutes increases your confidence levels and drops cortisol (stress-hormone) by 25%. If you’re less stressed when going into an exam, it’s proven that you are likely to do better. Self-efficacy can also lead you to perform better at tasks: if you believe that you can do something, then you’ll have a higher chance of putting effort into the task, thus improving the results. So, fake it till you make it!

Secondly, don’t be afraid to take a break from all of the craziness. When you start to feel overwhelmed with the assignments piling up at the end of the semester and the looming gloom of final week hanging over you, you’re less likely to actually get started on anything. We as humans shut down when things are seemingly impossible, and if we aren’t passionate about the work, it can be even harder for us to get started. So, taking a break isn’t a bad thing. Go outside, get some fresh air, then sit down and get started on the easiest or the hardest assignment (it’s your preference). Once you actually get started and have an end point in mind, you’ll get into a rhythm and knock everything out faster than you originally thought it would take. 

Lastly, here are some tips to help you study for your exams better. Based on a psychological study done in 2016 by Putnam et al, one of the best ways to study and retain information for tests is to do practice tests and quiz yourself. I know most people dread the words “practice test” because it makes it seem like you have to spend hours going over material. This isn’t the case here. It’s actually better for you to study a little bit everyday, so making sure you have ample time to study before finals is key. 

Whatever happens at the end of the semester, just remember to be proud of yourself for making it through. Going through college isn’t a small task, there are lots of challenges and roadblocks thrown your way. You just need to keep your head held high and remember that you won’t always get an A on that exam or you won’t always be able to write a jaw-dropping paper and that is okay. Be mindful of what you can tolerate, both physically and mentally, and don’t ever think just because someone may do better than you on a test, or paper, or anything in general, that it means you are less than them because it doesn’t.

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Alexis Banner

U Maine '23

I'm currently a junior at UMaine majoring in psychology and minoring in marketing. I am also apart of the Honors ambassadors team and a recent member to the HerCampus group here at UMaine. I have a passion for writing that has gotten lost in translation over the past year so I'm hoping to spark that passion again while making some amazing friends.
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