Senior shares tips on avoiding stress

IUS Horizon

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We all have it. We all experience it.

Stress.

Stress is a normal, everyday part of a college student’s life.

College is one of the most stressful times we will face in our young adult lives. In college, things just seem to get piled up and piled up on top of each other.

Papers are assigned, chapters need to be read, book homework must be written out, research done, group projects worked on, quizzes and exams prepped for, etc.
Add all of that school work on top of 15-40 hour work weeks, issues at home or with friends, financial worries and other everyday worries facing college students today.

Stress is inevitable.

But lucky for us, there are plenty of ways beat to that stress and make it through those tough college classes.

I’m graduating this year and I, like many of you, have had my fair share of stressful days. Trust me. My first three years of college were full of so much stress that there were multiple times I wore myself down and got myself sick.

But I learned a lot in those three years about how to handle stress. So here are a few of my tips I’ve learned over the years on how to handle the stress for these next few weeks of midterms, due dates and tests before Spring Break and graduation.

1. Try to be organized. Clean your room or work space. Clearing that clutter before you sit down to focus will give you one less thing to worry about and it will help clear your mind. You will also know where to look for things when you need them, such as notes or study guides.

2. Manage your time and try to avoid procrastination. Even as a senior, this is a hard one for me to do, but it is important. It’s not healthy to cram for a huge test four hours before.

If the test is on a Monday, try to spend a couple hours each day of the weekend studying just a little. If it is on a Thursday, spend two hours each night during the week studying.

The more you study, the more you reinforce the material that you need to know and the more confident you will feel with the material and the less stress you will feel on test day.

3. Get a good night’s sleep the night before that big test or presentation and eat a good breakfast the morning of. I know these two do not sound like a big deal, but they really are.

Studies show getting a good night’s sleep will lead to improved memory and easier recall of information. Loss of sleep will increase your stress level, decrease your test performance. Last minute bits of information will be useless. Loss of sleep can lead to serious illnesses such as diabetes and depression.

Eating a good breakfast increases your concentration and helps keep you energized and alert during a test. By eating breakfast, you do not have to worry about your stomach growling or feeling tired in class.

4. Control your environment to help you focus better. If you are the type of person that gets easily distracted, like me, you may need to eliminate the distractions around you.

Work in a room without a TV or a lot of foot traffic, put your phone on silent or listen to music to drown out your roommate.

Have snacks and a drink nearby, so you will not have to leave the room and get sidetracked. Create the best environment for you to study in.

5. Avoid using alcohol to relax. Having three or four beers after an intense study session may sound like a great way to unwind, but in reality all that stress will still exist once your buzz disappears.

Besides there is always the chance that you will overindulge and then you will have to deal with those unpleasant side effects in the morning.

6. Focus on one assignment or test at a time. Trust me I know how easy it is to get stressed once you realize how much homework you have due in the upcoming week.

Just this week, I have two papers, one project and two class assignments all due.

Personally, I make a list of what’s due when. I go down that list working on one thing at a time and I cross off the assignments I get done, until everything is finished for that week.

OK, my final tip and truthfully I feel like it is the most important one. It has been the hardest for me to learn to do, but trust me it works.

So, you’ve spent the last five hours, cramming for that huge midterm or working on that projects that is worth half of your grade or writing that paper that needs to be 10 pages long… take a break.

It’s healthy to step away for a couple of hours and let yourself get distracted. Try to do something fun.

Take a study break with a group of friends and have a midnight breakfast or have a mini-game night for a couple of hours. Go see a movie, take a walk, work out or even take a long hot shower or bath to relax.

The goal is to get your mind to concentrate on something else other than school for a couple hours.

And when the time finally comes for that test or presentation, I’ll share with you a piece of advice my dad told me a few years ago that has gotten me through many, many tests.

Tell yourself to go in there and do your best, because that is the best you can do.

Oh, and do not forget to breathe!

By KIM KERBY

Profiles Editor

kdkerby@ius.edu