10 Things You Can Do To Avoid The Mid-Semester Slump

10 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Grades From Getting You Down During The Mid-Semester Slump

"The papers are piling up, the midterms are coming up—and if I let it, then just about everything starts to get me stressed."

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The middle of the semester. Arguably, my least favorite point in the semester. The papers are piling up, the midterms are coming up—and if I let it, then just about everything starts to get me stressed. When that happens, it's all too easy for me to get into a sort of slump. I feel down—I procrastinate, stress, and don't sleep nearly as much as I should, all in the name of making that A and getting the grades I need.

On that note, if that experience sounds familiar in any way to you, then here are ten things that you can do to keep the mid-semester slump from getting you down.

1. Remind yourself that grades aren't everything.

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Pass or fail, grades are not everything. Yes, they're important in many respects, but at that same time, there's also plenty of ways that they aren't. It's important to remember that grades don't define you as a person, and that one or two bad grades won't hold you back.

2. Take a breather.

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When life gets too stressful, remember to breathe. As simple as it may sound, sometimes it's easy to get so caught up in life that you forget to do even thing simplest of things. When things get stressful, take a second to breath, remind yourself that everything will be okay, and then press forward.

3. Say a prayer when you feel discouraged.

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Don't be discouraged! Don't think bad of yourself! Psalm 139:14 says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and if you feel like you aren't, then say a prayer and lay out what is burdening you.

4. Don't forget to treat yourself sometimes.

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Treat yourself! Whether that's getting your favorite food, watching a movie or TV show, or doing a little self-care, it's important to treat yourself every once in a while, and give yourself something to look forward to!

5. Get some sleep when you can.

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Please sleep. When I don't get enough sleep (which happens all to often), I'm not my happiest self. I'm also not able to fully focus on my homework because, when it comes down to it, coffee is just not the same as a full night's rest.

6. Take a break every now and again.

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Breaks are important. If you keep going and going and going, then odds are, you'll get very burnt out very quickly. If you want to keep that focus, then it's probably best that you take breaks during those late night study sessions.

7. Remember to take care of yourself.

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Please take care of yourself. No matter how rough things get—and how little time you think you have—it's still important to shower, get sleep, eat food, and do all those important things that you have to do to take care of yourself.

8. Talk to friends and family.

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Take some time to talk to friends and family. At least for me, talking to people that care about me is a surefire way to brighten up any sad day.

9. Try not to shut out people who care about you.

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On that note, make sure you aren't shutting out people who care about you. Don't forget to call your parents every now and again, and remember that your friends care about you and your well-being. They want to talk to you about everything going on it your life.

10. Do things that make you happy.

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Don't get so bogged down in school work that you leave no time to be happy. Take some time out of every day to do things that make you smile, no matter how big or small those things might be.

I know that things are picking up at this point in the semester, but try not to let stress get you down. Remember that everything is going to be alright—and if you can't get your spirits up, I hope that a few of these things might help you out.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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7 Basic Essentials For Your First Summer And Fall Term At UF

I definitely wish I brought these things to campus for my first term at the University of Florida.

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Congratulations and welcome to the Swamp! If you haven't heard yet, it is very swampy here, especially in the late summer and early fall months. I thought South Florida was humid, sticky, and rainy; and Gainesville has all of these qualities, but amplified. However, it can also be pretty chilly in the early winter months. Here are a few essentials you will need to avoid looking out of place (like I did) and clueless during your first semester.

1. Rain Jacket

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While this may seem obvious, do not forget to bring a rain jacket. What is even more important is that you don't skimp out on a rain coat. While it may seem ridiculous to spend more than $25-$50 on a rain coat, do it. I took the cheap route and ended up having to buy another, more durable, jacket. You also will want one that extends past your torso a bit and has a hood that actually fits your head. You definitely want a hood that stays put when you are running from class to class in the pouring Gainesville summer storms.

2. An Umbrella

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Another obvious pick, but bring an umbrella. I thought my rain coat would be enough, but boy I was mistaken. Also, just like the rain coat, make sure your umbrella is big enough to cover both you and your backpack. My umbrella has been one of my biggest saviors when it comes to hustling across campus in the pouring rain.

3. Water Resistant Backpack

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While this one may not seem very important, I assure you that your papers and technology will thank you. Because I live off campus, I have to take the bus to and from school. Of course, there are rainy days when you have to walk from your stop to your apartment, dorm, or class. A water-resistant backpack will keep your tech safe from rain. I don't suggest buying a fully waterproof backpack unless you are planning on throwing your backpack in Lake Alice.

4. Good Walking Shoes

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I wish I spent more of my freshman year walking in proper sneakers rather than in Birkenstocks and socks. Campus is big, and I mean really big. I would often walk about 5 or 6 miles in my first two semesters on campus when I took traditional on-campus classes. Definitely get a nice pair that you can wear for those long days on campus, your feet will thank you years from now.

5. Rain Boots Or Water Resistant Shoes

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I wish I would have brought some rain boots to campus for my summer term at the University of Florida. It rains almost everyday in the summer at least for 20 minutes. I made the mistake of not investing in a pair of rain boots and ended up ruining my pair of running shoes, at least cosmetically. Shoes are hard to wash, so get some rain boots!

6. Reusable Water Bottle

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If you haven't gathered this, it is very hot in Gainesville, Florida. I am from South Florida where at least the sea breeze cooled us down a bit. However, Gainesville is landlocked which means the air doesn't move much unless there is a significant breeze in the forecast. The climate is unforgiving for those who aren't properly hydrated. Bring a reusable water bottle to campus because it keeps your water colder and you also have access to refill stations at various locations across campus.

7. Scooter, Bike, Or Skateboard

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As mentioned previously, campus is big. You will most definitely want to bring a quicker mode of transportation to campus. My preferred method is biking because scooters, "scoots" as they are more lovingly called, are dangerous; and campus isn't very skateboard-friendly. Sometimes we get caught up in things and only have a few minutes to trek across campus. Bring something that allows you to travel quickly across campus, your attendance grades will thrive.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any of the above products.

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