The Final Countdown

Studying in my little corner of campus
Photo credits to my friend Sophia
Whether you're a high school student cramming for AP Exams, SAT Subject Tests, or finals, or a college student trying to get through exam periods in which your tests count for 50% of your grade, we all can agree that finals are a stressful time. In addition to studying, it's important to take care of yourself: body, mind, and soul. Here are my tips for how to survive hell week(s).

Get Your Blood Pumping
Sweating out your stress is the most effective way to deal with the mounting pressure and angst that may be building up in your bloodstream! Even if you go for a 15 minute walk outside or just run two miles on the treadmill, you'll boost your energy and release endorphins - two things that will make you feel great! It's also important to take breaks to stretch after sitting for long periods of time. These simple stretches only take 15 minutes and leave you feeling refreshed.

Write It Out
I'm lucky and have lots of writing assignments: a perk of being a Writing Seminars major. Every week I churn out essays, poems, short stories, or articles for my school newspaper. Still, I like to take time to write for pleasure. This blog has been a great creative outlet for me; I encourage everyone to find a space, whether it be online or in a notebook, to write down their thoughts and daily experiences. I think writing is one of the best stress relievers because it is cathartic and requires self-reflection - and it's really fun to read old diary or blog entries! If you don't feel like writing, drawing or painting are great alternatives.

Eat a Healthy Snack
I find that when I get stressed I tend to eat and snack a lot more. I also find myself reaching for candy, chips, and soda, which are neither nutritious nor filling. Instead, choose brain-powering and protein rich foods that will help you feel more satisfied and give you the energy you need to tackle all of your tasks. Carrots and hummus, apples and almond butter, berries and yogurt, or popcorn and a granola bar, are all easy to store in the dorms or transport to the library. They're also easy to find at your student market or grocery store.

"No Complaints without Suggestions"
One of my closest friends at Hopkins has taught me this mantra and I have tried to adopt into my mindset this semester. While complaining may seem to relieve stress momentarily, it only perpetuates a cycle of negativity and doesn't do a ton to alleviate your feelings of frustration and anxiety. My mom always tells me, "That time you spent complaining could have been spent getting your work done," which I grudgingly admit is true. So if you're going to complain, resolve not to spend hours whining about your problems and work towards getting whatever it is you're complaining about done. Instead of bemoaning the 10 page paper you have to write, draft an outline or write a couple paragraphs. If you're really not able to work, take a short nap or walk around the block. Disclaimer: this is the hardest advice for me to apply to myself.

Be with Friends

Hopkins opens the cafeteria up from 9 pm until midnight most days of the week for late night where they serve comfort food: waffle fries, scrambled eggs, pancakes, omelettes, chicken fingers, etc. I love going with my friends to catch up over some greasy noms and take a break from studying. It has become one of my favorite times of day because we are super exhausted, yet manage to laugh, catch up and share stories from our day, and have fun over plates of breakfast food. Even when you have tons of work, it's important to take time out of your day for the people that matter most!


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