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Midterm Season: 5 Study and Stress Tips

Here comes that time of the year again. The time when you regret not using reading week well or daydreaming during your prof’s boring lectures. Sure, maybe you could have used your time well and not feel as stressed right now, but there is still hope! The last thing you want is to let this stress get to you and affect your performance even more. So sit back, relax and let me share a few helpful de-stressing tips:

1.     Use your agenda:

If you are already doing this by using a physical or a digital one, great! If not, GET ON IT. Midterm season requires your focus and undivided attention. Stress is not the only factor that can disrupt your focus. Remembering deadlines, events, and even everyday activities such as going to the gym or grocery shopping can affect your learning ability by distracting you. Write everything that needs to be done in your agenda, even if it is something as trivial as taking a shower or doing laundry. Again, doing so will just spare your brain the energy to remember all your plans. Plus, it feels real good to check tasks off your checklist! :)

2.     Use study apps:

If you have made your agenda, just looking at how much needs to be done could be a huge deterrent. This is similar to getting ready to go hiking but once you get to the mountain and realize how high it is, you start having second thoughts and don’t want to start. The only advice I can give is to take it one step at a time. It is okay if every single item in your agenda isn’t checked off. As long as some are checked off, there’s progress. One way to help you keep up is to use a study app. I started using Tomato One—a timer app that automatically switches back and forth between 25 minutes of study time and 5 minutes of rest time (this is default settings but you can change it). It is much easier to stay focused for short periods of time. This study habit has not only made me more efficient but also less tired. I can effectively go through 14 cycles in one day but feel as if it were just 5!

3.     Turn off your phone:

Simple in theory yet very difficult in action. Think about it: it takes at least a few seconds for you to reset yourself and get in that study mode. Now imagine your phone goes off every 1-5 minutes and say you reply to some notifications, if not all. The few seconds you take to look at your phone will pile up and at the end you only get only a little studying done. So please do yourself a big favour and convince yourself to turn off your phone. If this is completely undoable and you are obsessively in love with your phone (been there at times, nothing to be ashamed about), put it on silent. If this is still too hard, turn off your notifications for some apps. Personally, I save hours of my time every single day ever since I turned my Snapchat notifications off!

4.     Quit partying:

There is a difference between taking some time to rest and partying. They are not the same! In fact, partying is the opposite of rest. It requires a ton of effort, time and energy and at the end you’re just tired. The worst part is experiencing the post-party lethargy the next day. After a crazy night, you are now hungover and have a bad headache. Getting out of bed seems impossible, let alone typing up an essay that is due tomorrow. That being said, rest and sleep is absolutely crucial during midterm season. We all cut back on such a necessity during exams as is, we don’t need to do it even more. Hot tea is the relaxation you need in a cup, whereas Smirnoff Vodka is the headache you don’t need in a bottle. You don’t have to go out to take a break, even for the dollar beers!

5.     You do not need Weldon to succeed:

We all know how packed libraries become during midterms and finals. If your favourite study spot at a library is taken, don’t delay studying until you find a spot. There are SO many places on campus that are empty, even during midterms, and yet ideal for studying (e.g. Cafés, empty classrooms, random study spots in buildings). Weldon being crowded does not mean you cannot study. You can still get great grades by having studied in places other than libraries. You can be just as focused in other locations and have saved the time of looking for an almost non-existent spot in a library!

There you have it! Basically stay focused and motivated. Know that everything isn’t worth stressing about, and that there is a solution to a lot of the problems on your mind. Doing well on exams is important, but so is your health. Try to minimize stress and still keep up with you healthy habits. A good workout is needed the most during stressful time! Why? Because it makes you feel much more calm and more determined.  Don’t skip leg day and I promise it will only help you to kick some ass on your exams!

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Nadia Aiaseh

Western '21

I am a second-year student in integrated science with specilization in physics. I aim to write about topics that are most relatable to students on campus. So if you are excited/bothered by something and want others to know about it, don't hesitate to contact me for a potential article :) 
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