Stress and Studying

It seems that just a few days ago, I was lounging around, relaxing and catching up on my favorite tv shows. But here I am, yet again…cramming for the wave of exams.  Understandably, the stress levels have been extremely high for most of us during the second half of the month and I would not blame anyone for having mini breakdowns in the bathroom in between classes or for memorizing biology at 3 A.M in the morning. However, it’s very important to not let the anxiety and stress get to you. Once it does, it can cripple you. There are times when my friends and I let anxiety overtake us and leave us in vicious cycles. For example, I fall behind with school work, and I  get so anxious about all the work that’s piling up… that I procrastinate even more out of fear and end up doing worse than I was in the first place. I know many  other students out there go through similar issues and deal with anxiety, stress or even depression, so I compiled a list of some positive methods to cope with stress and anxiety during your exams. These methods only take a few minutes, so you don’t even have to worry about wasting time on studying for your exams.

  • Try a breathing technique. The best way to calm down is to slow down your breathing and to narrow your focus. Many people have different breathing techniques such as thinking only positive thoughts or trying to breathe in a certain pattern. My favorite breathing method is the 4-7- 8 method. All you have to do is breathe in for four seconds through your nose, hold your breath for seven seconds and blow the air out from your mouth for eight seconds. You should keep repeating this cycle until you calm down. This technique is great for panicky situations and trying to fall asleep when you’re stressed.
  • Take a long hot bath/shower. Hot baths and showers can relieve tension and soothe body tenseness. They also increase oxytocin levels, thus reducing anxiety.
  • Write things down. A lot of the times I’m stressed because there’s so much going on or too much to study that I can’t comprehend. Writing down lists only takes a few seconds, and will make you feel much better when you can visualize exactly what you have to do.
  • Hang out with friends. If you’ve been studying (or cramming) for more than 24 hours straight, you’re bound to end up stressed. Taking a break with friends or anyone, is needed to not crash and burn.
  • Ask for help. My biggest problem when I’m studying is that I never ask classmates for help and I don’t go to office hours. This is a bad habit obviously, since I’ll end up studying one topic for four hours when someone could have explained it to me in 15 minutes. Even if you’re stressed about non academic situations, it’s always beneficial to get someone else’s perspective on an issue. So go to a trusted friend, parent etc.
  • Do nothing. This may sound counterintuitive, but instead of constantly bustling around or thinking too many things, set a timer for about two to three minutes, lay down and do nothing. Don’t think about school or your personal troubles, just close your eyes and do/ think about nothing.

Tips for Summer Courses

“Summer courses”, a phrase that brings the strongest to their knees. Don’t we suffer enough with classes during the year? Everyone deserves a break, and for most of us, a true break is summer.

However, our number one goal is to graduate, so as much as we feel our summer fun is being deprived from us, sometimes summer classes are necessary. But, we can at least be smart about it.

Here are some tips about taking summer classes:

  1. Don’t take hard classes:

Summer classes are regular classes condensed into approximately half the amount of time. This means that you have half the amount of time to study and make connections with the material. Additionally, there are less resources available in the summer, including less friends to help you and less tutors on campus.

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  1. Don’t take long, boring classes:No one wants to waste away their summer on material that they couldn’t care less about, with a teacher preaching material that they themselves could probably care less about. At least during the year those classes are spaced out. Don’t feel like you need to bombard yourself over the summer.Cats-is-bored_o_120706

     

  2. Take easy GPA boosters or online classes:                                                                               One of my previous posts highlighted some of the easier courses at Rutgers, however there are plenty more. If you want to raise your GPA with minimal work, and maybe not even having to be at Rutgers (online classes), definitely take one, or even two! tooeasygrumpy

 

-M

Some Thoughts on Where You Are Right Now

I was walking to class earlier today when I saw a group of high school students and their parents gathered near the engineering quad on Busch, and the smile that formed on my face took me by surprise. It’s been a year, I realized. It’s been a whole year since I was in their footsteps, admitted and eager to get a glimpse of what would await me here at Rutgers. I can’t even begin to describe to prospective students how fast time goes by when in college. And while I know many of you, if not all, are eager to join “R” community, my words of advice are to cherish your last few months in school.

One year ago at this time, I was committed to Rutgers and doing everything possible to prepare for my freshman year. I was on top of everything college-related; I took care of housing, I eagerly sought out potential activities, places, classes of interest to me, and I joined about every Facebook group out there. Because I was early in the college decision-making process, excited and ready to go, I think I failed to really enjoy the end of my senior year. I found myself wanting to skip past graduation, summer, and even move-in, just because my college life was waiting to be explored.

Now that I’m here, now that it’s been a year since I fell in love with the idea of Rutgers, I am happy with the pace at which my freshman year is going. While I’m not ecstatic that these semesters seem to be flying by, I am certainly not sad. There’s something pretty rewarding about taking each day as it comes, as cliché as that sounds, without worrying about my next lab assignment, or that quiz I took last week. Every time I see prospective students on campus, I am reminded of where I was last year and think about where I will be in a year. And although these thoughts are exciting, they are not important in this very moment. So to those of you who are unsure about Rutgers, or even to those who cannot wait to begin their first semester, my advice is to enjoy where you are right now. Soak in the unfamiliar surroundings, they will become familar all too soon. You have four years to explore and succeed at the school of your dreams, and this is just the beginning.

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