How To Survive Finals Week

How To Survive Finals Week

Sleep? We don't know her.

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When it's 4 a.m. and the Langsam Library floor has never looked comfier, you know what week it is. The last week before winter break, every creature was stirring, even the desktop mouse. Awake are the desperate crammers, the professional procrastinators, and the chronic overachievers. There's a frantic buzz of studying and test-taking in the air mingling with the scent of coffee. Before you have your next scheduled mental breakdown, here are a few tips on how to stay sane during this season.

1. Create a study schedule.

This means looking ahead at your calendar and planning out what times you have to study for which exams. It doesn't have to be written out in a fancy planner (unless you're THAT person... aka me). It can literally be as simple as a day-by-day breakdown on a page torn from your notebook or a saved note on your phone. This will keep you from feeling too overwhelmed trying to think about five different tests at once since you have everything laid out in front of you. It also allows you to then schedule in free time as well, something you shouldn't neglect this week. Seriously, take the 10 minutes to plan. You will thank yourself later.

2. Eliminate distractions.

I'm definitely guilty of using my designated "study hour" to scroll through every app I have on my phone or watch way too many episodes of a show on Netflix. Discipline yourself to put your phone away or set social media limits for yourself. You can live without staying updated on your feed for a few days. Eliminating distractions can also mean choosing a different environment to work in. If you can't stay focused in your dorm room, reserve a study space in the library or head to a local coffee shop. My favorite question to ask upperclassmen is their best study spots on and around campus.

3. Study smarter, not harder.

Use all the resources at your disposal. If your professor or TA offers a study session, make it a priority to go. Start reviewing your notes as early as possible and if you have any questions, reach out to get the answers. If there's a study guide available, fill it out. Try to combat passive studying by taking study breaks and utilizing different methods of processing information. Flashcards (or Quizlet!), whiteboards (helpful for long equations!), and re-writing notes (with color-coding) can all help. If you work better with friends, then get a study group to go over the material together. Being able to successfully explain a concept to someone else is typically a good sign that you have mastery over it.

4. Eat & Exercise.

Supplying your body with healthy food will help your brain perform at its capacity. Avoid the urge to munch on vending machine snacks... the quick calories of processed carbohydrates won't satisfy those hunger pangs for long. Eat as many whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh vegetables as you can. Also, putting your notecards aside to head to the gym is a smart move that is proven to boost your brain power and reduce stress. "Physiologically, the benefits reaped from at least 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running, biking, or training on the elliptical machine, can last for up to 12 hours, according to Dr. Leavis, associate professor of physiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and senior scientist at Boston Biomedical Research Institute."

5. SLEEP.

I know it seems impossible, but if you stick to your schedule, you should have enough time to get a good night's rest. Tired brains do not recall information well and no one wants to accidentally sleep through their 8 a.m. final because they stayed up too late studying for it.

Best of luck to everyone this week!

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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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11 Things I Definitely Will NOT Miss About Living In A Dorm

ResLife was lit, but it's time to say goodbye.

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As most college students do, I have spent the first two years living in a dorm. This has definitely come with its ups and downs, but for so many reasons, I am so excited to live in an apartment. Granted, I was lucky enough to get a spot in a suite-style dorm and missed the nightmare that is communal bathrooms, but nevertheless, there are some unique challenges that come with living in a residence hall.

1. Community laundry

There are so many things that I won't miss about the community laundry room. While I appreciate that I don't have to pay for it, I hate that other people have no concept of how to responsibly use a washer and dryer. I hate people who leave their stuff in them until the dawn of the age. I hate people who take your things out before they're done and throw them somewhere (or keep them). I hate people who throw entirely filthy things into the washer and dank it up for the rest of the world. I hate when you have a specific time you planned to do laundry and everyone and their brother turns up to do their laundry at the same time so you have to stalk washers and dryers with Black Friday shopping intensity. Community laundry is the actual worst and you can't disagree.

2. Other people's use of community spaces

I would like to issue a special thank you to those that are incredibly loud in places that people go to work on things. Lounges, computer labs, working areas... y'all can really be the worst. People really have no regard for anyone else when they're using common spaces and it shows.

3. Midnight fire drills

The other night I was up late studying and went to bed at 1:30 a.m. to be awoken 15 minutes later by a fire drill. Whoever was blazing it at 2 a.m., I just wanna talk...

4. Paper-thin walls

Forget any semblance of privacy. All of your roommates can hear all of everything you say and so can everyone passing your room in the hall. Better not talk badly about anyone because they'll probably hear you from a floor away. This also leads to some other, uh, situations that can be painstakingly heard through the walls. Rest in pieces, residents with rowdy neighbors.

5. Broken elevators

Inevitably, one of the building's elevators is always down or taking forever. In addition to the people that ride the elevator up to the second floor, this is a real pain in the butt.

6. Messy people going out

While I can't say I've never been part of a group that got messy after a night out, they always respect community spaces. I can't say the same for the person who puked in the drinking fountain. Or the person who puked in the elevator so that I had to walk up five flights of stairs. Y'all are real ones.

7. Checking in guests and checking in late

While I appreciate the concern for the building's safety, it is so inconvenient to have to check into the building after midnight. A lot of nights it's cold and I'm coming back from a long day of work and it's really frustrating to have to go into one of two doors that are nowhere near my room and interact with people. All I want is to go to bed at that point.

8. Fire safety rules

Again, I appreciate the concern for the building's safety. I really do. However, why in the world would they sell extension cords or outlet splitters or toasters if they were so hazardous to the public? With a grand total of maybe 4 outlets per room, it's quite bold of them to assume that everything can be plugged in at those strange various points around the room without a little help.

9. Parking

I have yet to find a dorm with parking that's reasonably close to their building without having to get to the building at a very specific moment on a very specific day to try and fight for a parking space. I can't wait to be able to use my car without having to make the trip to get it an entire event.

10. Faraway mail

Package pick up is a whole trip away. I can't wait to be able to receive mail in a reasonable place. I really thought I was going to get arrested one time because I received a jury duty questionnaire in the mail and had no idea when it actually got there because my mailbox is nowhere near where I walk.

11. So. Many. People. All. The. Time. 

It can be entirely frustrating to have to deal with so many people all the time. If I go to fill my water bottle, I might be subjected to a conversation and on some days, all I want is to be alone. There is nowhere you can go in a residence hall where you are Truly Alone.

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