It’s midterm season, ladies and gentlemen! I know what you’re thinking… “Mercedes, I’m so stressed!” or “Mercedes, how am I going to get all of my work finished in time?” or the always popular “HOLY $!%@$! I AM LITERALLY DROWNING IN WORK RIGHT NOW!”
Fear not, young students. As a general proprietor and regular stress-developer, I feel your pain. So today, I am here to talk about dealing with stress and anxiety–as well as a few study hacks and time-management strategies. I will break down a study system into four easy steps, and have you stress-free in no time!
STEP ONE – RELAX
First and foremost, I need to ask you to breathe.
Breathe in for four, hold for four, out for eight.
Think you’re good? No. Do it again.
Okay, now that we’re settled… this is a reminder to continue using controlled breathing to calm yourself down. Yes, it sounds cliche, and perhaps it is–but there are physiological reasons as to how breathing can regulate stress. So keep breathing in the back of your mind when things get scary.
STEP TWO – STUDY IN PEACE
Second, you’ll need to find a comfortable and productive place to get started on your work. Whatever makes you feel good! For me, it’s sitting somewhere with natural light, a pumpkin scented candle, a cup of coffee, and some light music in the background. Here’s my current favourite playlist, if you’re interested! Do what is good for you–whether that’s complete silence, or heavy metal at 600 decibels. Live your truth!
STEP THREE – THE PLAN
Now it’s time for your plan of action. Start by writing down each assignment you need to finish, each exam you need to study for, and so on. It may be a lot to look at. This may be a good time to remember your breathing techniques from earlier.
It’s now time to create a schedule. Break down allotted time for each task–for example, mine would look like this:
Psych Midterm: 3 hours
JRN104 Assignment: 2 hours
You can even break these down into smaller categories, for example:
Psych Midterm – Creating flashcards: 45 minutes
Psych Midterm – Reviewing studies: 1 hour
JRN 104 – Writing: 1 hour 30 mins
JRN 104 – Editing: 30 mins
Once you have done this, to whatever degree you see fit, it’s time to input it into a schedule. One of the most important things about scheduling is remembering to give yourself breaks. Please do not schedule yourself for eight hours of practice quizzes. You will lose your stamina and have trouble retaining information. Every couple of hours, give yourself allotted time to eat, nap, and recover. It will absolutely help you in the long run.
STEP FOUR – GET ‘ER DONE
You are now ready to execute your plan, agent! Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Set timers to signal the end of each task period, including breaks. This will keep you on schedule.
- Put your phone on airplane mode–then you can use your timer, calculator, and other utilities without the distraction of the internet.
- Ensure that you have all your needed materials, so you don’t spend time leaving your space to get things.
- Allow your schedule to be flexible. Need a break a little sooner? Did writing that assignment take less time than you thought? Adjust your schedule to reflect these changes.
- Eat. Seriously. Besides breathing, it’s one of the things we forget to do while focusing on work.
Congratulations! You are now effectively studying–and at the same time, dealing with anxiety and stress. Remember–you are only as strong as you allow yourself to be. By taking control of your stress, you are one step closer to achieving your ultimate goals.
You got this!