Tips on how to survive finals

4 Tricks To Outsmart Exam Stress and Survive Your Fall Finals

Build resilience and find peace of mind during finals week with a few manageable tips and tricks.

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Finals are nearly here, my friends! We all know the struggle of completing those last few exams and papers before packing and preparing to go home for the winter holidays. Between cramming in assigned readings and meeting paper deadlines, relaxing and taking a break might be the last thing on your mind. However, practicing some simple tools for self-care will help improve your concentration, attention span, and memory. You don't have to survive the week on caffeine and minimal sleep! Fight the urge to allow your frazzled thoughts and nervous energy take over your life by trying out some of these tricks.

1. Find relief with a mind dump exercise

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Doing a "mind dump" is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and there's truly no wrong way to do it. Put pen to paper and allow yourself to list everything on your mind, either in bullet form or in full sentences. This might include things you need to do (like "schedule dentist appointment"), assignments to be completed ("Philosophy paper, Art History flash cards, read Psych chapters 8-12"), or anything you're feeling/experiencing ("tired, overwhelmed, excited to go home for break"). Nothing is off-limits! After you're done, you can do whatever you want with this, hopefully at least feeling a bit lighter. It might be a relief to tear the paper up into a million pieces, or save it and use it as a baseline to get a study schedule started to prioritize exam dates, due dates, etc.

2. Take a breather & quiet your mind

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Practice a simple form of meditation by closing your eyes while seated, and just start to notice your breathing. Try not to get caught up in any racing thoughts or present worries - it is completely normal to experience this! However, you may notice that as you focus on your breathing, your thoughts become less prominent. Bring awareness to the feeling of air coming in your nostrils, allowing your ribcage and belly to expand, and exhale out your mouth naturally without forcing anything. Once you have spent a couple of minutes doing this, start to lengthen your inhales and exhales so they are of equal length. Inhale, mentally counting, "1, 2, 3, 4", then exhale through your mouth for 4 counts and continue for 5 to 10 minutes. This form of breathing is an ancient technique called "sama vritti" and promotes relaxation and clarity of mind.

3. Show your eyes some love

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If you've been staring at your computer screen and textbooks for hours on end, it's time to give your eyes a much-needed break. Researchers at The Vision Ergonomics Laboratory suggest increasing font size and switching your typical Times New Roman font to something more easily readable, like Verdana or Helvetica to reduce strain on your eyes. You should also be taking a short break from your screen at least every half hour.

Before you go to sleep at night, or during a mid-day break, rest with an eye pillow. The light weight of an eye pillow filled with rice or flax can be extra soothing and calming on the eyes. Additionally, eye pillows that utilize scents like lavender or eucalyptus add an extra sense of rejuvenation. Some eye pillow brands are designed to be microwaved for heat therapy, and almost all eye pillows can be placed in the freezer if you're craving a cooler touch. You can purchase one from Amazon (like this one) or do-it-yourself. Pour approximately one cup of uncooked rice that has a couple drops of your choice essential oil mixed in into a tube sock, then tie off the end before use.

4. Practice positive self-talk & re-pattern negative thoughts

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Researchers are finding that the way we talking to ourselves has the power to shape our perception of our abilities. When your self-talk and internal beliefs are negative, like believing you won't do well on an exam, you have poor study habits, or can't get out of the trap of procrastination, you might be unconsciously perpetuating behaviors that prove yourself right. When we affirm these negative beliefs, we are less likely to believe in our abilities to push through difficult or stressful times and therefore less likely to take productive steps towards tackling our challenges head-on.

Your negative self-perception might stem from completely legitimate sources - and it's important to validate that, too. I'm not asking you to put on rose-colored glasses and pretend like everything is OK when it clearly doesn't feel that way! For example, if you have anxiety that is provoked during finals week and consequently negatively impacts your sleep, ability to concentrate, and study effectively, you might not perform as well on tests as you potentially could. However, in realizing this, it's important to find ways you can take action and then affirm your ability to do so. Some examples are: "I am doing the best I can", "I can get through this", or "I am taking small steps towards success". It's important to also couple these positive statements with positive action so that you truly believe yourself when you repeat these statements. This might look like seeking support from a therapist, going to your professor's office hours and/or review sessions, creating a study schedule, or making sure you're drinking enough water every day.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?

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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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