Monday Motivator: Manage Stress

This is the last week of classes before final exams. Basically, this means that last papers are being written and turned in. The final (or first) touches are being made on projects. And the last class speeches are being delivered.

For many students (and faculty), the week before finals can feel more stressful than the actual exam period. And an added problem with the fall term is that the end of the semester coincides with one of busiest times of the year.

So here are the Jolly Librarian’s strategies for dealing with stress:

  • Ask for help if you need it. No matter where you are in the research process, the librarians are more than happy to help. Math tutors don’t care if you haven’t been in the Learning Center all semester; they are willing to help. Your instructors have office hours for a reason: to answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Knowing how to do something is one of the best stress relievers.
  • Let some things go. Decide what has to be done for the next two weeks and focus on them. Maybe the kitchen floor won’t get mopped. Maybe the family will eat out instead of your cooking. That’s fine. These two weeks are for school.
  • Make a plan. Write down due dates and what has to be done each day to complete assignments.
  • Follow that plan.
  • Remind yourself of the bigger picture. When I was working on my doctorate, there were many times when I was ready to give up. I don’t have to do this, I said to myself. Why not just get in my car, drive back to Tennessee, and do something else?  But then I’d remember that I always wanted to a doctorate. And that I would feel that I lacked something if I didn’t earn it. When stress hits, think to your major goal: becoming a nurse, having a college degree, etc.
  • Take breaks to relax. Go for a short walk. Take a fifteen-minute texting or web surfing break (only fifteen minutes, though!) Pet an animal.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • If you’re stressed because you haven’t kept up with assignments this semester, then, after finals are over, make a plan to remedy that in the spring.
  • Turn off social media while you’re studying. Seeing your friends having fun while you’re studying will only make you miserable. And if they’re all posting about how miserable they are and how hard their courses are, there’s a good chance all that complaining can make you feel hopeless.

And if all else fails, try this. One summer, I had to take a speech course (a course I had put off the other four years of my college career.) I very much feared speaking in front of the class. So on speech days, as I drove to campus, with my hands shaking and my stomach churning, I would repeat to myself, “No matter how bad this is, in two hours, it will be over and I’ll be driving home.” I’m not sure why it worked, but it did.

So remember, in two weeks, you too will be on a month’s break.

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