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Mental Health

How I’m Surviving Exam Season (and How You Can Too!)

Midterm season can hit us all like a ton of bricks. It's quite easy to throw your mental and physical health out the window when your weeks seem filled with endless assignments, readings, and studying. But fear not! Many things can be done to ensure your midterm week or midterm month ends up being a little less stressful. Here's a list of four tips that will hopefully aid in surviving your exams.

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1. Feeling Lonely While Studying? Try “Study With Me” YouTube Videos

For all of those folks out there who love studying in cafes, libraries, or any space that involves people, this tip is for you! There are so many videos on YouTube that can help motivate and fuel your study session, especially when there is someone on the screen studying with you. Any time you’re sitting down to grind out that work, try turning on one of these videos to help guide your work and keep track of time! Here’s a link to one of my favorite study with me videos (it also has lo-fi music in the background!).

2. Try the Pomodoro Studying Technique

For me, I never knew about the Pomodoro technique until my senior year of high school. After trying it, I realized how effective and de-stressing it is! With the technique, you study in 25- minute intervals. After each interval, you get a 5-minute break to help refocus your attention and allow you to step away from your workspace for a bit. After four cycles of 25 minutes, you get a longer break which ranges anywhere from 15-20 minutes. With studying in one space during midterm season, sometimes it can be hard to give your body time to relax and de-stress during the in-betweens of each study session. The Pomodoro technique helps with reminding you of when it’s time to relax! Here’s a link to the timer I use whenever I turn to this technique.

3. Get. Some. Sleep!

I know this is so much easier said than done, but sleep is incredibly important for memory and processing. It is also essential for our bodies to get enough rest so that we can focus and get through the next mentally exhausting day ahead. If there’s one thing you should put at the top of your priority less next to exams, it’s sleep. Try to aim for 7-8 hours minimum; anything less than that may leave you fatigued and make it more difficult for you to function the next day. Even if you feel like you shouldn’t sacrifice sleep just to cram in more studying, you are so much better off allowing your body to rest and process the information you just learned rather than trying to overload it with more information.

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4. Treat Your Body Right Make Sure You Eat!

Eating enough may sound like a given, but you’d be surprised by the number of times I’ve sacrificed a good lunch or dinner for studying or cramming in work. The thing is your body needs fuel. It needs to have enough fuel to function properly and allow you to focus and be productive throughout your day. So, if you’re trying to decide between eating a good, healthy meal or turning towards a less healthy but quicker alternative, remember how many amazing things your body does for you. Make sure to treat it right and give it the fuel and love it deserves.

Although exam season is stressful, anxiety-inducing, and heavy with due dates, make sure to take some time to show yourself and your body some love. You are an amazing human doing your absolute best, and you will get through this incredibly stressful time, one day at a time.

Catalina is currently a third-year English major at University of California, Davis. Her interests include watching Studio Ghibli movies, reading fantasy novels, listening to Broadway musicals, and cooking with her family. After graduation, Catalina would like to become a high school English teacher and share her love of storytelling with her future students. :)
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