How to stay sane going into mid-semester

Everyone tells you the most stressful times you will endure in college are midterm and final seasons, and if you have already lived through some of these, keep doing your thing!

But if you have not, or you’ve struggled in the past, there are a few simple things you can do to prepare yourself and also some tips on how you can stay (at least somewhat) sane during these stressful and frustrating periods.

Make a consistent schedule for yourself

A common mistake that a lot of people make in college is not using any sort of planner or organizational system. Keep track of everything you have planned in a physical location rather than attempting to track everything using your brain.

You’ll most likely feel like you have a lot of things to do for each one of your classes during these times of semester: quizzes, exams, homework, club meetings, deadlines, study times, even nap times can be tracked in your planner or calendar.

Try keeping yourself in a consistent schedule that your body can get used to so you don’t end up going into panic or overdrive mode and have a meltdown.

Stay as positive as possible

This will probably be one of the hardest things you will have to make yourself do during this time. Staying positive in times of high stress like these is truly an art--you’re either going to sink or swim, and you have to master how to stay positive in order to learn how to stay afloat. Through my own experience I find that, at this point in the semester, I am able to stay positive when I look out for my future self rather than constantly focusing on moment-to-moment life.

Little things like cleaning your room, dorm, or apartment prior to entering midterm or final season can give you a sort of safe and private space that you can go to when things start to feel overwhelming. Coming home to a clean room makes me feel a little less discombobulated and more put together than I might be in my academic life during these times, and can help me gather myself and refocus my energy.

Also try to keep school away from your room or home: if you are going to study, try going to the library or find a cool spot elsewhere on campus that makes you feel comfortable and focused. This way, when you come home you can ‘leave school at the doorstep’, and your home can turn into your safe/relaxation space, rather than just another place that you feel stressed out.

When things get overwhelming, meditate

You hear people say this one a lot but even a quick five-minute meditation can really put your mind at ease and and help you gather yourself and any thoughts that might feel scrambled in your head. Find a candle you like the scent of, and a quiet spot that has no connection to anything that is causing you stress.

When you begin, close your eyes and try to picture everything you have negative feelings about in a scattered array inside of your mind, next picture all of those things squeezed tightly in a bubble floating around in your brain. Imagine yourself popping this bubble and all of its contents disappearing, and think about nothing--that’s right, absolutely nothing.

Breathe continuously in through your nose and out through your mouth and really try to focus on your breathing pattern and maybe even the scent of your candle if you are able to smell it. At this point, you can also try picturing yourself somewhere peaceful like a beach or your favorite place in the world. When the meditation ends, you will feel a lot more calm and most likely have a much clearer and better understanding of how you should go about all of your tasks.

Combining all of three of these steps will no doubt be a recipe for mental success during this midterm and final season, (disclaimer: don’t forget to still study, of course!) You got this!