Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Midterm Madness: Finding Balance

If you're a college student, like me, you may be in the midst of midterm week. Luckily, I have just one midterm left, and I survived the week without loosing my mind. School is very important to me and I want to do well, but not at the expense of my mental or emotional health. Here are a few tips to help you through midterm week, or any stressful time in your life.

Finding Balance

1.) Stay ahead of the curve. This is a motto I am still learning. There are some days when I am able to devote extra time to get work done well before it is due, and other days when I'm so swamped I don't think I'll get through anything. When you know you are going to have a lot on your plate, such as the week before midterms, try to get as much done beforehand as you can, that way when midterm week rolls around you will feel prepared and not as overwhelmed.

2.) If you need a break, take one. When I have a lot on my plate, I tend to try to get it all done in one sitting. I have discovered that is not the best approach for me. After a while, I hit a wall and start to struggle if I spend too much time on one thing. Not only is this stressful, but you won't give your best work. Take a break and come back to it in a few hours. Over the weekend, I spent all of Sunday afternoon working on one project, and around 5pm I went to the movies. It was a great break. After a few hours of not thinking about the project,  I was able to go back to it with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

3.) Get your sleep. I have never pulled an all-nighter. I am sure there were some nights when I should have, but sleep is far too important to me. Just last night, I was working on some last minute details for another project. Around 11pm, I was loosing motivation and getting quite sleepy. Instead of powering through it, I set my alarm for an hour earlier than I would normally get up and hit the hay. This morning I woke up earlier and finished the project. Not only did I get the rest I needed, but I was once again able to take a second look at everything with fresh eyes. I know had I stayed up to finish the project it would not have been my best work.

4.) Eat breakfast. This has been engrained into my brain since I was little. My mom always stresses that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and she is right. I always try to eat a little something, even if that only includes a cup of coffee. At least you have something in your stomach. Eating breakfast not only speeds up your metabolism, but it also gives you energy to wake up and get your day going. I know when I don't eat breakfast I get pretty crabby around 11am and end up eating more than I need to for lunch.

5.) Don't be afraid to ask questions. Some of the best advice I can give to college students is to form a relationship with your professors. They truly enjoy students who are engaged and active. I have a great relationship with my Marketing professor and I know if ever I have a problem or question with the work, I can always ask him for clarification and assistance. He has even offered to help in other areas, such as internships and various school activities. Your professors are your best sources for networking, as well as educational purposes, so take advantage of that. They do want to see you succeed.

I hope these little tips helped. Good luck with midterms and any other stressful situations you may have headed your way! Don't let the stress get you down. What tips and tricks do you have for finding balance during stressful times?

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