November 25, 2011

Think there’s no cure to the insanity surrounding exam time? Think again

A quick picture of the state of my desk during exam time

It’s that time of year for college and university students alike. Final exams are looming, and every instructor seems to think that it is the perfect time to give you essays, projects, assignments, and anything else they can think of to make your life just that much more difficult. On top of that, you need to start your Christmas shopping, apply for summer jobs/internships, squeeze in some workouts before the bad holiday eating kicks in, and find time to schedule your Christmas holidays so that you can spend time with all your friends and family. Enough to stress you out yet? I hear you. Hopefully some of these tips will help you out so that you don’t have a breakdown before the “most wonderful time of the year.”

  1. Eat right. This is important any time of the year, but especially during times of stress. Try not to binge, or grab food on the go because you are in a hurry. Eating unhealthy foods will not make you feel any better, and will not fill you up for as long either. To be alert and awake, you need to be eating everything your mom told you to: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. If you don’t have the best eating habits, try taking a daily multi-vitamin pill to make up for whatever you aren’t eating. 
  2. Stay away from caffeine. Yes, I’m being serious. Caffeine is not a natural substance to have in your body. It may keep you more alert throughout the day, but it can prevent you from getting a good sleep, as well as falling asleep in the first place. Try to cut down, or erase it altogether from your diet. 
  3. Get enough sleep. Aim for seven hours. Try to go to bed at a decent time, and don’t leave things until the last minute so that you are cramming to finish a project before bed. Being in front of the computer screen before you sleep tricks your body into thinking it is still daytime. 
  4. Fit in some “me” time. This could mean practicing guitar (this keeps my sane as a college student in general), reading a book, watching a movie, or going to the gym. Which brings me to my next point… 
  5.  Get your butt to the gym! Yes, I said it! Just go. Don’t make excuses; instead of spending hours on Facebook and Twitter, take some time to get active. The endorphins will leave you feeling healthy and alert. Doing this in the morning will help you be more attentive throughout the day. 
  6. Go out. Take a break. Your life does not have to revolve around school. If you find you can’t concentrate anymore, ask a friend to go for coffee or a walk. Do something that will take your mind off homework so that you can gather your thoughts and resume it later. 
  7. Breathe. You only have a few more weeks to go. Step back, take a breath, and you’ll get through it.

Do you have any other tricks to get you through exam week?