Take a Breather: Coping Strategies During Exam Season!

Happy December everyone!

It seems almost as if in a blink of our eye, we’ve rushed by the autumn blur of golden-brown leaves, straight into welcoming the pristine, white snow.

With the quick change in seasons, we also are slowly shifting gears to jump into perhaps one of the most stressful times of this year - exam season. This year, students might find exam season and the arrival of finals even more complicated, and difficult to accomplish in a virtual format.

Today, I wish to share three of my favourite stress-alleviation strategies and study tips to help us band together, and push through all of those pesky finals! Without further ado... let’s get started!

Photo with a purple background and black lettering stating, "Big ideas have small beginnings."
Credit//The Huffington Post

#1: Make a Short List of Goals - Everyday.

Life happens, and sometimes you feel extremely de-motivated after failing to finish that last body paragraph of your essay, or forgetting to finish your discussion board post. I feel that way often, especially when I find I need more time than anticipated to finish both my work-related and school tasks.

I like to write anywhere between three to five goals at the start of each day, for what I set out to accomplish during the entirety of the day. Whether you write it in a journal, or on your laptop - put those goals somewhere where you will be reminded of them throughout the day. It is a good practice to start with small goals such as finalizing a thesis for your history paper, or even sending an email to your professor. Creating small goals at the start of each day can aid you in building a process towards task achievement by the end of the week, and help alleviate the tremendous burdens of schoolwork, coupled with stress.

#2: Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help from your Professors

I am guilty of thinking I can finish everything in our given timeframe - but the truth is, as students we have an immense load of school work to get through, alongside other commitments such as a job, family-related tasks, and/or extracurricular activities, to name a few.

Especially during a time where we struggle to navigate an online world and burnout becomes more pronounced, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors and set up some time to chat with them if you need an extension. At the end of the day - they too have been students, and experienced the difficulties of exam season that we are currently facing. If you require additional support, create a space in where you feel comfortable doing so!

#3: Take Breaks!

It might be self-explanatory that it is vital to take study-breaks, but a lot of students (myself included) forget to reward themselves with time for relaxation after a particularly hard hour of studying. Those hours become days, then weeks, where sleep schedules become muddled and students experience a severe strain on their mental health.

I would recommend taking a break for at least fifteen minutes for every one hour you study. During these fifteen minutes, you should find an appropriate space to decompress and relax. Whether it is listening to music, doing some exercise to get your heart rate pumping, or watching David Dobrik’s latest YouTube video - set a timer and use that time to take a breather. We deserve it!

Photo with a purple background and white lettering stating, "It's okay to take a break."
Credit//The Huffington Post

Lastly, please remember that your mental well-being is always significantly more important than the sacrifices you may feel you must make for a good academic performance. This year's exam season poses various obstacles, especially with the current state of our world. However, as we all huddle back to our books, just know that you have the support of our strong student community to help get you through this period. You got this!

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