5 Things To Remember During Finals

5 Things To Remember During Finals

There is more to life than exams and papers.
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Students are no strangers to stress. Between classes, activities, and mountains of homework, stress is a daily part of our lives. But shouldn't we be learning to manage this stress instead of just living with it? With finals looming, our stress levels are at an all-time high. Under the weight of grades and expectations, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to take care of yourself and survive finals.

Breathe

When it feels like you're drowning under papers, tests, and study guides, stop and take a deep breath. At this point in our lives, it's easy to think that grades are all that matters. But stop and ask yourself, is this really going to matter in five years? Chances are that the answer is no. You are not defined by your grades. Employers care more about your problem-solving skills than whether or not you can memorize 200 terms for a test. Take your finals seriously, but not too seriously, because there are much more important things in the grand scheme of life.

Sleep

During finals, sleep is treated more like a luxury than a necessity. However, staying up all night to cram could actually backfire on you, because your brain processes and stores the information you learned during the day while you're asleep. Studies show that for optimal health, you should sleep in 90-minute intervals. This is because your REM cycle (periods of deep sleep) takes about 90 minutes. People that wake up at the end of a REM cycle (during periods of increased brain activity) are more refreshed and alert during the day than those that wake up in the middle of their cycle (the deep sleep stage). If you need to cram, try to get four and a half or six hours of sleep. If you gave yourself a little more time, shoot for seven and a half or nine hours.

Organize

To-do lists are your friend during finals. Sometimes the best thing you can do is visualize everything you need to do. Taking a few minutes to schedule out your study time will make it much easier to tackle each task individually. This way, you won't waste time on a paper that's due in a week instead of studying for the exam in two days. Once you've spent the allotted time on one activity, move on to the next. You'll be forced to be more productive with a time limit, and you have the satisfaction of being able to cross things off your list. Time management is the key to survival.

Take breaks

While you're laying out your to-do list, don't forget to pencil in some breaks for yourself! Your brain can only handle so much at one time. On average, the most productive study sessions are about 50 minutes long with 10 minute breaks. When you're done with one subject, change locations to study for the next test. Studies show that changing locations helps your brain differentiate between study material and allows for better recall on tests.

Talk to someone

Between your library corner, the coffee shop, and your bed, it's pretty easy to forget that there's life outside of your textbook. Isolating yourself may be the best way to focus, but it also wears on your mood after a while. Take your next study break and talk to someone! Whether it's a refill run to Starbucks with your friends, FaceTiming your friend at home, or a quick call to your mom, the mere presence of a friendly face has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (a hormone produced by stress).

Cover Image Credit: Judi Kettler Extraordinary Content

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.

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When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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