This post is for my fellow university/college students who are on the verge of, if not already having, mental breakdowns because finals are in roughly three weeks, second midterms are happening right now, and every paper known to man seems to be due on the same date next week, and every day after that.
Nearing the end of my university degree, I have come to learn a number of things about myself, about my study habits, and well, how to not breakdown into sobs every time I open a textbook. So here is my list of ten ways to stay sane as a Student.
1. Do not start watching Breaking Bad 2 weeks before finals.
Start 3 weeks before, it gives you ample study time and a reason to "take a break" for 3-5 hours a day.
Kidding, but not really. I should probably tell you not to start watching Netflix at any point during your last two months in a semester but that would make me a giant hippocrite considering I'm on season 5 of Gilmore Girls with no signs of stopping and 3 papers, 2 assignments and 4 finals on the way. Buuttt this system might not work for you, which leads me to my next point...
2. Find what works for you.
Like I said, I can take breaks and still get myself to focus for a few hours. This might not work at all for some people, my boyfriend for example can literally study for 12 strait hours without stopping. You have to figure out what causes you stress, and then do whatever you can to eliminate that stress. Listen to music, study with a group, or lock yourself in a room away from your phone and all other human activity - just make sure that whatever you do, it keeps you sane, overworking yourself does more harm than good.
3. Make a to do list. Lose that to do list then make 5 more that you probably won't look at ever again.
If you look around my house, you will likely find 5 separate note pages with 5 different dates, and nothing checked off; but just writing out what I need to do helps me compartmentalize, even if I forget about it half an hour later, the list usually helps to calm me down. It makes me pay attention for five minutes and allows me to figure out how much time I should spend on school work. For example if the list has like 10 items I know I have to get my butt in gear and focus, but with only 3 items I can give myself more leeway throughout the day = nap time.
4. A ten minute power nap with a text book on your lap is equivalent to 8 hours of sleep and a red bull.
Okay, so maybe an exaggeration, but seriously 10 minutes works wonders, an hour however, can leave you feeling worse than you started. Remember when you were 5 and you screamed at your mom for making you take a nap? You should go apologize to your mom right now for any hard feelings because naps have saved my life. Just don't take one for 5 hours in the middle of the day if you actually want to fall asleep that night.
5. Say goodbye to healthy food and that six pack you've been saying your going to have for the last 3 months.
Continual workouts will not happen, chips will happen, left-over Halloween candy will happen, stuffing your face with everything in your pantry except for the healthy food will happen. Accept it, and enjoy it. Unless of course you are a body builder and have some sort of super human ability to still get good grades and work out 4 hours a day and not make brownies just so you can eat the batter at 9 o'clock at night.
6. Get used to whipping your pants off as soon as you get home from class or work. There is no shame in pant-less studying. I personally believe that it can greatly improve one's GPA.
7. Nobody actually knows what he or she is doing.
This pretty much counters number 2. because well, even if you do find "what works for you" it might not work for you a month from now. None of us know what we are doing, sometimes we do it really really well and end up acing that paper and exam that we thought we failed, and the rest of us end up doing really crappy just like we thought we would. It's important to remember that the girl or guy sitting next to you, who you think has it all together, actually doesn't and actually just had a mental breakdown themselves.
8. Learn to enjoy it.
School sucks, not having a social life sucks, not having money sucks and feeling like your brain is going to explode really sucks. But it's going to end, and your actually going to miss it. Take the time to realize how privileged you are to actually be getting an education, and remember to have some fun. Go for a beer (more like five) after exams, skip class sometimes, take breaks, see your friends, use the excuse "I have to study" as much as humanly possible to get out of things.
9. Breathe. It's going to be okay.
If you are hyperventilating, screaming into your pillow, or silently sobbing stop, take a breathe and remember that tomorrow will come and go and you are going to be okay. Looking back on my first year of university I realize that I put way to much pressure on myself. I've learned to relax a lot more, and to breathe and to not take everything so seriously, your going to pass this exam and the next and the next one.
10. Coffee will save your life. Drink it.
Did I say coffee? I meant Wine.