Syllabus week has come and gone, and so have those first few weeks of class that are essentially, well, not something that you needed to worry about at that point in time. You’re finally getting to that point in the semester where you just might think you know all of your professor’s names without having to refer to your schedule for a quick reference. You’ve mastered your morning routine, knowing what time to wake up in order to make it to Starbucks before class. You’ve even discovered a few nights during the week where you can stay up late and go out if you wanted. Yep, you’re finally getting into the swing of things and maybe even have this whole college thing figured out.
And then mid-semester hits and your world seems to be spinning out of control. Midterms sidled you out of left field as a pile of unfinished papers and impending tests are stoically sitting in your planner without check marks next to them. Deadlines are approaching while you are at a standstill, not knowing where to start.
I’ve been through the fall midterm experience a few times now. It’s really not that stressful unless you turn it into some traumatic game of Life where everyone and everything in the world wants you to fail. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 5 basic tips to help you power through the next few weeks.
Before you get yourself worked up over the idea of not having enough time to finish everything on your to-do list, breathe. This can simply mean giving yourself time to lay on your bed for 10 minutes with no distractions, or going to a yoga class to help build mental endurance (and it’s a great workout). Either way, don’t just sell yourself short and choose to be stressed. You can mentally prepare yourself for the coming weeks if you take the time to tell yourself, “you ARE going to kick these midterms’ ass”.
2. Create Your Own Deadlines
No, this doesn’t mean it’s okay to hand in your work a few weeks late. At this point, you should be aware of your upcoming assignments and their respective due dates. Have 3 exams on Friday? Don’t leave them all to the night before to study for them! Use a planner to organize – Monday: Study Psych Tuesday: History outline Wednesday: Accounting project. Make it your goal to finish your assignments a few days before they’re actually due to alleviate stress.
3. Eat healthy
Trust me, I love buying 99 cent pizza whenever possible or splurging on Chipotle. But stress eating will only make you feel more lethargic and less productive. Eating healthy foods will help give you the energy that you need to successfully complete all of your assignments on time. Oatmeal is not only a healthy option but also it’s super easy for college students. Avocados, bananas, whole-wheat pretzels, yogurt, and yes, chocolate, are all foods that can help reduce stress. And of course, remember to drink plenty of water and green tea!
4. Take A Walk
No seriously, take one. Specifically, in nature if you can. Nature walks are win-win: they promote both physical and mental health. Challenge yourself to take a walk through the woods with a friend or two who are looking to gain the same benefits that you are. Further, try turning off your phone for the duration of the walk. Being one with nature sans technology or social media can be refreshingly therapeutic: it’s the perfect reset button.
5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
In 4 years or less you will be graduated and done with your undergrad career forever. Sure, it may seem overwhelming now, but in a few short weeks this will all be over and you’ll be learning new material in your classes. You probably won’t remember any of this in a few years – it’s really not as big of a deal as society makes midterms out to be. Keep your head up, stay confident in yourself, and know that you’re going to do awesome.