Tighten up and let loose

Managing stress is a huge part of your success.

Managing stress is a huge part of your success. Photo credit to “bottled_void” on flickr.com.

by Victoria Nguyen

With the semester coming to an end, I can already feel the stress building up, as I’m sure y’all are too. Throughout the semester, I’ve struggled to keep my sanity and deal with deadlines and overall life, but I have noticed I’ve gotten better at keeping things together during stressful times. There are only a few weeks of class left before the countdown to finals and all chaos breaks out all across campus. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some tips to keep your sanity and make the last few weeks as calm as possible.

I’ve always had a problem with procrastination, and unfortunately I don’t see it ever going away. Honestly, school work has always come easy to me growing up, and I could always bust out an exceptional assignment at the last minute without much planning or preparation. However, college is a completely different story and requires planning, and sometimes pre-planning. I’ve gotten better at giving myself enough time to complete assignments and readings before they’re due. This success comes from multiple planners and calendars, as well as sticky notes. The planner and calendar are useful for obvious reasons. But if you find these methods are not very helpful, I would suggest  you get those huge sticky note pads. I use them to plan out my week, or sometimes even individual days. I just sit down and take a few minutes to think about everything that needs to get accomplished at what time and create a checklist. I set this note on my laptop, so that every time I start to work on anything I know exactly everything what needs to get done. After you finish each task, just scratch it off your list and move on to the next one. These little tools help me stay organized and keep stress at a moderate level throughout the week.

You guys are probably getting ready for the last rounds of tests and/or finals just like I am. Studying is a verb that is simple to understand, but is increasingly difficult to carry out and perfect. I’m sure most of us never really had to do much studying in school until we got into college. I didn’t really even know how to study until my first rounds of tests started way back in the beginning of September. It might be a little late for study tips at this point in the semester, but maybe a few of these suggestions could direct some of y’all to an unknown paradise as finals approach.

The first and probably most important study tip that I could give is to find an environment that is conducive to you being the most productive you can be. I am the kind of person who needs soft noise to study and focus. Why this is, I’m not sure, but I know that if you stuck me in a solitary room with absolutely no noise, I’d go crazy and get nothing done. If you are like me and need a little noise, sit in an area that will provide just the right amount and kind of noise that would be a stimulant for studying. Obviously I’m not suggesting you to go sit in the middle of the Quad with people screaming everywhere, unless that works for you.

The next thing I would suggest is don’t wait until the last minute to start studying. This is the hardest “rule” for me to follow. I always plan out days to study and say I’m going to do it, and then never end up following through. I am not the person who could study weeks before the test because I know I will forget everything by the time test day comes around. I usually wait a few days before the test to start studying because that whole “study as you go” thing doesn’t work for me at all. However you like to go about reviewing, just don’t wait until the night before your test to try and cram all that information in, not only because it’s not successful, but because it is extremely stressful. And the whole idea of the end of the semester is to have as little stress as possible, right?

Like I’ve been trying to explain all semester long, take time and have a little fun. Step away from the stresses of life, school or otherwise, and take a moment to just let your hair down. The past week was hectic for me with a few tests and assignments due. I work myself so hard that I sometimes get overwhelmed and fall into a panic attack or unhealthy lifestyle consisting of no sleep and poor diet. It’s important to remain physically healthy while in college, and a huge part of that is maintaining stress. It isn’t easy by any means, but it’s one of those things that needs to be done! Between studying with some friends, and dealing with some other issues I just needed to take some time for myself. I hit the gym a few times to left off steam, which is the best option for me just because when I’m doing something physical and running around I just shut my mind off for a brief amount of time. But probably my most favorite thing to do is interact with my fellow Bobcats at fun campus-sponsored activities.

Last night SACA, my favorite organization on campus, held a painting night. My roommate and I just went out and had a blast painting our stresses away. I got the opportunity to step away from everything for a little while and just enjoy something fun. There is always something going on around this beautiful campus, and there is always something for everyone no matter what you are interested in. Go out and dip your toes in the river, or see a movie about a historical event, or go see a show in the Square. I just want to remind everyone that the last few weeks are going to be stressful and you are probably going to feel it, but just remember to take care of yourselves and finish the semester healthy and as sane as possible. Bobcats, the semester is tightening up, but we’re letting loose!