Finals week. Two words, one week and no sleep for anyone involved. Sometimes, in the midst of all the final's week commotion, I find myself, in my sleep-deprived frenzy, staring at a scattered array of papers, some covered in my own tears, wondering why I do this to myself. Why do I put my mental health, my sanity, on the line in order to ensure A+ grades? There's no debate that, yes, these grades do matter. As students working towards a successful future, school should be our first priority, our number one job. But, where do we draw the line? Is it the constant anxiety, the drilling into our heads that we won't be good enough, no matter what we do? Is it the sleepless nights dedicated to tirelessly studying material that serves us no legitimate purpose? Or is it lack of time spent doing things that ultimately define a life well-lived: spending time with friends, family and doing things we are truly passionate about, the things that make us better people? When do we decide that we care too much and that we need to reevaluate?
Over my past three and a half years of high school experience, I've decided that it's all of the above. Personally, I'm beyond tired of feeling less than, despite putting forward my best effort. I'm tired of feeling unfulfilled regardless of how hard I work. And I'm tired of seeing my peers fall deeper and deeper into a pit of self-loathing due to the insurmountable pressure they're under. There is a way to to do as well as you need to and take care of yourself. It's about finding a happy medium. It's difficult to get the hang of, but it can absolutely be done. Here are a few tips to get started:
1. Go to bed before midnight.
I know it may sound absurd, but sleep loss inhibits convergent and divergent thinking abilities and slows general cognition substantially. So get a good eight hours in!
2. Don't cram!
The human brain can only absorb so much in a certain amount of time. Wasting time memorizing every minor detail is not the way to go. Review the basics and refresh your memory the night before or day of, but DON'T try and relearn an entire semester in one night.
3. Go for a walk.
Give your brain some time to process what you're studying, and give yourself a break. Fresh air can do absolute wonders for a cluttered mind (and cramped up legs).
4. Set a timer.
Whether its 15-minute increments to 2-hour increments, set reasonable goals for yourself to sit down and focus on a specific topic. Reward yourself with a nice break once the timer goes off, and at least try to relax.
5. Make a schedule.
Make a mini schedule so you don't spend too much time on one thing or too little at another and feel stressed to compensate later. Try sticking to it, and you'll thank yourself later!