As October rolls around I love getting to watch the leaves change, snuggle up in cozy sweaters, enjoy delicious hot chocolate, and anxiously await the soon to arrive holiday season. But as a college student I feel as though studies often get in the way of my ability to enjoy the life that is rapidly passing me by, especially as midterms approach. If you’re like myself, you will likely experience three stages of test preparation. First is denial, where you pretend as though none of your responsibilities actually exist (this is my favorite stage). Secondly comes panic when the sudden realization comes that your tests are in fact on Monday and not a single one of the shows you’ve been watching on Netflix has helped you prepare for it. Then you feel so overwhelmed because you have no idea where to begin and you’re doomed to fail so your future is obviously ruined and life has lost meaning so instead you do nothing at all. The last, and least fun, stage is when you realize you do in fact still care about your future and probably don’t want to drop out of school and so you spend the little time you have left after all that procrastinating and panicking to try and absorb the bare minimum of information you’ll need to know to still pass.
Well after just going through similar situations not too long ago, this time around I’m doing things differently. The problem with the old method is that it takes up so much of your energy while using your time in the LEAST effective manner possible. And by the end of the chaos, I end up feeling exhausted, depressed, and defeated because I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to with the quality that I wanted to. So to preserve my grades and my sanity, I’ve started to incorporate some new tricks that I recently learned in a Lifestyle Redesign seminar I attended for my job. I hope that they can help you like they’ve been helping me so that midterms no longer keep you from doing things that you really want to. (Even if that’s just staying in your PJ’s all day and watching Netflix)
Lifestyle Redesign Studying Tips:
- Utilize a wall calendar- Personal planners are great but oftentimes I get lazy and forget to write in them or check them daily. I find it more helpful to keep a large calendar on my wall somewhere I can easily see it throughout my day. This way all my tests and assignments for the month are laid out so I can manage my time for the bigger picture. If I know I have 3 midterms on the same day in two weeks, I know to start studying a lot earlier and to not make plans around that day so as not to overwhelm myself any further. Seeing everything ahead of time helps you not to be caught off by any deadlines so you can prepare better for each assignment.
- Use the 25/5 rule- Sometimes when you’re on a roll with completing assignments it seems counter-productive to stop and take a break; you’d rather just power through and finish them all. But actually you study best and retain more information if you work for a consistent 25 minute period and then take a 5 minute break to have a snack, stretch, etc. I personally prefer stretching because I feel it keeps me awake and renews my energy.
- Start with the small stuff- When you’re feeling overwhelmed with lots of assignments, its always good to start with the smallest tasks first. Things that you can do easily and get out of the way are good to help reduce the amount of homework clutter you have. And that sense of accomplishment can help fuel your motivation to tackle bigger projects later. Or if you only have bigger projects, try breaking it down into smaller parts so you can have that same satisfaction. 🙂
- Sleep is your savior- Don’t forget to schedule time to sleep. If you pull an all-nighter to study and miss out on beauty rest then odds are you’re not going to remember anything you looked over anyway. Your brain and body work best when they feel well rested, and no amount of caffeine at 3 am will change that.
- Reward yourself- Midterms are hard. If you made it through a rough week, definitely reward yourself for doing so. Take a long nap, go shopping and splurge a little, treat yourself to ice cream, or just take a day to do absolutely nothing. Whatever you choose, you definitely earned it!
I hope one of these tips will help you to be a little less stressed during this midterm season. Good luck to everyone on their exams!