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Conquering Hell Week: Do’s and Don’ts

College life can be great. You meet new people, gain experience, acquire new skills, and discover more about yourself. However, college can also be a massive pain. When you have four tests, two essays, and a project due next week, giving up starts to look like an appealing option. FACT: Hell weeks suck. They’re frustrating, stressful, and there seems to never be enough time to get everything done. Conquering a hell week can seem impossible, but even when the odds are stacked against you, there is always a way to get through it. Below, I’ve created a guide for things you should and should not do to survive this crazy week and accomplish all your goals.

DO get a head start.

A hell week is like a storm: the moment you see it coming, prepare or be caught in the middle of it. When you notice your workload is growing or that a certain week is being filled with assignments, consider tackling some of them early and avoiding having them all pile up later on. The urge to procrastinate is hard to defeat, but it’s well-worth the effort to get some tasks off your to-do list and save yourself the headache down the road.

DON’T allow distractions.

As someone who has spent hours scrolling on social media instead of getting work done, I can say this is easily one of the most important tips on this list. Turn off your phone. Remove it and all other potential distractions from your immediate surroundings. Find a peaceful place to study where you won’t be interrupted. By getting rid of all possible diversions, you can better focus on your actual tasks and get them done sooner.

DO organize yourself.

Schedules, alarms, and lists are tools that can keep track of what needs to be done and what you have already accomplished. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you have a lot of work to do, but listing all your assignments helps relieve this feeling by giving you a sense of organization and direction. It’s also important to identify what tasks are a priority and need more focus, so you can divide your time accordingly. Some of your phone’s features can be useful to keep you on track during a tough week, such as reminders, alarms, calendars, and the “do not disturb” option.

DON’T overwork yourself.

When you have a lot of assignments and little time, it’s natural to want to get everything done as soon as possible. However, taking on so many tasks at once can cause you to get frustrated and tense, and your mood will influence how well you’re working. When you feel exhausted and like you might crash under pressure, separate yourself from your work or focus on simpler tasks while you relieve the stress caused by the larger ones.

DO take breaks.

The last thing you want in a hell week is to burn yourself out, which will only cause you to waste more time later. Taking breaks between your tasks will help you stay awake, motivated, and in higher spirits. You can also reserve an hour or two out for yourself at the end of the day to unwind. By creating a balance in your time between work and leisure, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed and get more work done while maintaining a good mood.

DON’T forget self care.

This one may seem obvious, but in the middle of a hectic week, it’s the simple things one forgets. Remember to take care yourself: eat, drink a lot of water, take a shower, sleep, or talk to a friend. Even when your work is taking up most of your time, it’s always important to put your needs and well-being first. Besides, when your body and mind are in good shape, your work will be as well.

DO take naps.

Unfortunately, sometimes an all-nighter seems inevitable, but it’s important for your body to rest too. When you’re tired, your work is going to be affected and studying can be difficult if you can’t keep yourself awake. Taking a few 20 minute naps during your all-nighter or during a work-heavy day will keep you refreshed and help you concentrate on the tasks at hand.

DON’T be afraid to ask for help.

You aren’t in this alone. When you hit a block in your work or can’t seem to understand a certain subject, consider turning to someone else for help. Your professors, classmates, family members, and tutors are great people to ask for advice or assistance in a tough assignment. Even if you just need a friend to vent with, it’s important not to isolate yourself during a tough week and seek help from others when you need it.

DO celebrate the small things.

You finally solved a difficult exercise? Good job! You finished writing the first paragraph of your essay? Congratulations! Every step you take in your day is important, and you should treat them that way. Instead of constantly worrying about what has to be done, remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished, even if they may seem small. Reward yourself with a piece of chocolate or a small nap every once in a while. It’s not easy to get through a hell week, so be proud of all you’ve achieved!

DON’T underestimate yourself.

Self-doubt makes an appearance during stressful times, but don’t let it win. You are capable of whatever you put your mind to, so when you’re losing hope, remember all the things you have accomplished so far and trust you have what it takes to succeed in the work you have left. Give yourself a pep-talk in the mirror, take a deep breath, and convince yourself you will get through this!


So when your work piles up and a hell-week creeps closer, don’t panic and follow these tips so you can conquer this week!

Sofia Camacho is a third-year Industrial Engineering student at UPRM with a passion for reading, writing, and theater.
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