Op-ed

Ask Ali: How do I survive midterms?

Since this Monday marks the ninth week of the semester, we students find ourselves in the trenches of what is arguably the second most stressful time of the semester:  midterms.

During this time, it is most important to stay relaxed, focused, calm and collected, so as to give 100 percent to the major assignments that professors seem to be handing out like Halloween candy. There are so many ways to go about having a healthy mindset, and different things work for different people.

Upon surveying students and doing some research, here are some of the most popular and effective methods.

1. Take time to go outside and reconnect with nature:
Scientifically speaking, nature is one of the most natural and effective stress relievers around. When going outside, our bodies become sponges for fresh air and sunlight, which bring us numerous good things such as serotonin.

Serotonin is the body’s self-produced happiness hormone, which combats all those nasty feelings such as sluggishness, sadness and unproductivity, which can easily come from pouring every ounce of your being into a grueling midterm exam.

If you’re feeling run down by the pressures of school work, take a break or even pack up your homework and take it somewhere like Stroud Preserve, located only eight minutes away from campus.

2. Make time for yourself to do something for fun:
While it is super important for you  to keep your head in the game at times like these–there is such a thing as over doing it. When you overwork yourself, it becomes almost useless to continue as you are no longer putting forth your best efforts, nor are you retaining any information.

Because of this, it is important to take time just for yourself. It can be small breaks here and there, or even longer periods of time in the late evening as a reward for all of your hard work during the day.

During these times, you should do something that is not so strenuous on your mind. This could include taking a nice nap, watching an episode or two of that show you’ve been binging on Netflix, running a hot bath or practicing your drawing skills.

Whatever puts your mind at ease, make time to do it so that you can remain focused when you go back to the grind.

3. Eliminate major distractions:
It’s completely normal to have a difficult time focusing on studying or working on a project, especially if it’s one that doesn’t particularly interest you. If you’re a procrastinator, you may find it difficult to even start.

However, there are ways to make it easier on yourself.

By temporarily getting rid of the things that make it easy for you to put off studying or working, you no longer have an outlet to help avoid doing those things. Turning off the TV, going somewhere quiet, deleting social media or even powering off your phone all together could make it infinitely easier and quicker to get your work done.

4. Working out:
Hitting the gym after hitting the books is certainly one of the most popular forms of stress relief among students.

Running, or any other form of cardio, is a quick way to produce endorphins which ease any pain that may be plaguing the mind and body. Other activities, such as yoga, can help you create a more peaceful mindset while making it easy for you to unwind after a day.

The Student Recreation Center offers an innumerable amount of classes and equipment to all students, which can come in extremely handy at a time like midterms.

Ali Kochik is a first-year student English major. AK908461@wcupa.edu

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