By Iylia Marsya Iskandar
Waking up feeling lethargic, having little to no time to have five meals per day, immersing yourself in oceans of textbooks, trying to make sense of incoherent notes, diving in half-done assignments, pulling in all-nighters, cramming 14 weeks worth of lecture into one night, backaches, headaches, panda eyes, stress…
Students are exposed to a myriad of stressors during their university experience – from the very first day when they are forced to adapt to a new way of life up to the very last day of final exam. Occasional stress is an unavoidable part of our everyday life.
Some stress can be healthy where it protects you in times of need and gives you a sense of focus when you’re about to take a test or give a presentation. It also motivates you to rise to the occasion and give your best ability. And in times of emergency, stress can actually save your life where it stimulates your brain to work harder.
Then there is the type of stress that is harmful. It can cause physical, mental, and emotional aches and pains. It can cause your body and mind to overreact to situations and a host other issues.
As we approach the final exam season, here are some tips for students to curb the pretty and the ugly faces of stress!
A smile is the best accessory anyone could ever wear and laughter is the best medicine, even for stress! Cheesy, but true. Laughter has been found to lower levels of stress hormones, reduce inflammation in the arteries, and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. It is easier to get through the day when you get rid of the “I-should mindset.” Get rid of all the “I should study this because I am obligated to take this subject” or “I should study four hours today because I am running out of time” rather, take it positively and study with willingness. Try changing the phrases to “I want to study this not only because I have to take the final exam, but because it widens my horizon of knowledge” and “I want to study four hours today because I am eager to know more on this subject.”
Staying positive enhances your mood and enables you to study smart. Whenever you find it hard to laugh, think about something that puts a smile on your face. Is it a viral youtube video of an entrepreneur singing I am Me, or reminiscing about that time your best friends fell down the stairs? Whatever it is, keep it on hand whenever you need a good laugh.
Make it fun
It is normal for students to have a study schedule to keep on track. But it’s easier to focus if you adapt to studying by quizzing yourself, creating acronyms or rewarding yourself for a job well done. Create a game plan – literally – that allows you to accomplish tasks and be rewarded for each. For example, reward yourself with a piece of chocolate or a sip of coffee after you’ve accomplished a new chapter or allow yourself five minutes of free time for every chunk of material you digest. You can even add in fun factors like power-ups when you get 5 answers right in an exercise, you can eat more to a chocolate bar or you can lose a life for every 5 questions that you get wrong you have to eat less of the chocolate bar. Get creative and enjoy your study session!
Free your mind
It is understandable for students to not want to get out of their rooms or the library, see the sun because let’s face it – you’ll get tired very easily. But you should take a few minutes to get out of your rooms, get a scent of that fresh air, take a 10-minute walk and relax. Although it is important to study, it is equally important to take breaks. You won’t be able to memorise or comprehend all the materials at once. Balance is key – ensure that you reward learning with break times to recharge and relax. It is important to go through all the chapters in your study plan but here’s a lot to be said about a good night’s sleep. Make sure you’re well-rested so that you can be fully focused during your exams. The key is making sure you’re not only getting enough sleep but that the quality of sleep you’re getting is restful and restorative.
No one can deny the mind-body connection. If you have a negative mindset, your whole body will be negative too. Your final exams are another phase in your life and you can get through this! Study gradually and do not let the stress consume you. Lastly, study hard but study smart!
Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.***
Photo credit dizanna