It’s that time of year again folks: the blasted exam crunch time. Previously, I’ve written about how to stay physically healthy and how to find the study system that works for you. This year’s edition is more focused on mental health and stress-reduction strategies. Intrigued? Read on!
I find that this time of year requires a lot of discipline, focus, and motivation. Those things aren’t always easy to find, especially not when you also feel frazzled, stressed, and probably lonely. But finding time for fun activities can be so insanely hard, especially when you always have this looming dark cloud hanging over you, telling you “YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING RIGHT NOW”. How oppressive! I’m sure a lot of you are nodding in agreement – there’s always this sense of obligation or duty to be studying, and even taking an hour to catch up with someone at Starbucks feels very wrong.
The more we’re isolated, the more awful we feel; but the more we take time off from studying, the guiltier we feel. Stress central! Here are some of the strategies I’ve been exploring to stay sane this exam season.
Academia is gearing up for its final blow: exam season. And as it approaches, so too comes with it heaps of assignments, essays of the 20 page variety, and entire textbooks to read. We have lots of work to do, which means, the time between now and summer will be very poorly spent. That’s because we university students, in general, are extremely proficient procrastinators. Visit any library these days and you’ll be greeted by a familiar sight: students wasting time. Based on observation alone, the typical “study day” for the average student follows the same general pattern:
Arrive ? Unpack bag ? Go on Facebook for half an hour ? Open textbook to the right page ? Read 2 pages/do 1 problem ? Check Blackberry ? Read 2 pages ? Go to the bathroom ? Check email ? Check Facebook ? etc, etc.
It’s astounding how long we say we spend “studying” when, if we’re honest with ourselves, the majority of that time is spent just plain fooling around. Of course, I can’t speak for the entire population of students – surely, some are exceptionally productive – but my impression (from countless hours logged a la bibliotheque) is that procrastination is rampant on university campuses. Rampant, I say!
Why is this so? In my experience, it’s because I tend to dread my work. It’s so much more fun and rewarding to participate in instant gratification tasks: checking social media portals, for one, is a favourite. Thinking about a daunting, time-consuming project that threatens to take over your life for the next few days is depressing. So we end up putting it off until we can’t possibly do so any longer. Until it’s due tomorrow. And then, just like that, our sleep has been sacrificed to make up for our time management errors.