Mental Health Is As Important As Midterms

On October 10, 2019, we as a global community acknowledged the 27th World Mental Health Day.

First observed on the same day in 1992, it was created to promote mental health advocacy and educating the public eye on relevant issues and break down stigmas.

Each year focusing on a different avenue of mental health, it provides validation for people who are struggling with all kinds of challenges.

Concurrently, as of the past week and days to come, #midtermszn has taken over the University of Florida.

Marston and Library West are abuzz with students memorizing formulas, finishing their mid-semester portfolios and typing thousands upon thousands of words to meet their requirements.

The connection between these two events is that in order for us to be at our best when tackling this part of the semester, we have to put our mental health first.

We can’t have one without the other. The times that our school/involvement schedule is anything but smooth are the times that our sanity is so easily lost.

At the University of Florida, the school puts as much importance on our well-being as we put importance on academics.

U Matter, We Care is an umbrella initiative for different resources that can cater to any and all students, which includes the Counseling and Wellness Center.

Within the center, Gators have access to resources such as the Mind and Body Center that provide tactics and technology that help with mindfulness and stress relief.

This includes Biofeedback, which measures your mental activity and displays by playing accompanying weather sounds.

The more intense your flow, the louder the storm, and vice versa.

UF Mindfulness offers a wide variety of apps and websites to take a more portable version of what a center session can give you.

Additionally, videos and workshops can be used to assess how you’re practicing mindfulness in both group and private settings.

If you or anyone else is concerned about a fellow student, there are resources to learn how to recognize behaviors that could potentially put a student at risk.

At-Risk Kognito synthesizes simulating training to resemble real-life situations.

Knowing the signs of stress in oneself and others will provide the tools needed to share your concerns and suggest the help that they need.

Here are some easy tips that can kickstart your midterm peace!

  1. 1. Plan out your vision

    Whether it be a sheet of printer paper or your trusty Day Designer, planning out your weeks helps create a visual time map in your head which makes it easier to prioritize events.

    When I mark all my exams in the coming weeks, I can make a game plan for what order I want to study them and how much time in advance I want to put together all the materials.

    Keeping all the dates in your head creates a lot of jumble and makes it easy to forget minute details that could make or break a midterm exam.

    It can bring out feelings of anxiety and disorientation that could hinder your confidence, so do yourself a favor and put those multicolor gel pens to use!

  2. 2. Create your community

    One thing that has definitely gotten me through my exams has been involving myself in study groups with people in my classes.

    Having a multitude of people that are constantly reminding you about assignments and wanting to make study groups allows the opportunity to not feel as alone in your coursework.

    Additionally, being able to bounce content off one another means that you’re more likely to retain the information and gain the much-needed confidence.

  3. 3. Don’t be afraid to hit the breaks

    When I studied for my first real exam, there was no stop button in my brain.

    I started preparing with 10 days in advance, went to study groups and planned my days down to the hour.

    My head was stuck down in my notes instead of enjoying the surrounding homecoming activities and getting over a sickness, and I never hit a wall so fast.

    The truth is, you need to listen and allow yourself to enjoy a little break here and there, or else it’s only going to drag down your mental (and physical) state.

    Forcing yourself to overwork actually decreases the amount you retain in the long run and only makes you resent what you’re studying even more.

    For the sake of your inner peace, please pace yourself and take those breaks to do whatever you feel will help you unwind the most.

As a student at a top university, it’s easy to put the pressures of academic success to a whole other level.

Let this be your little reminder to put yourself first throughout this season.

Check in with yourself, take advantage of campus resources and talk to others.

We are all going through it, and there is so much community that comes with that. Wishing you the best on all your studies!