Archived: SAMRU’s guide to stressing less during exams

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Students tend to carry additional stress towards the end of the fall and winter semesters, when term papers, projects, last-minute assignments and finals prep are all clamouring for your attention. Here are some tips for making it through the next month in one piece.

1. Conserve your energy

The finals period is a marathon, not a sprint, so resist the urge to spend all day every day cramming.  You’ll have more energy to really focus when you are studying if you’re not constantly in work mode, and you’ll commit information to your long-term brain better.

If you absolutely HAVE to cram, we won’t try to stop you – in fact, there are 24-hour study spaces in Wyckham House, Y Wing, the Cougar Concourse and the campus Tim Hortons (just make sure you check in with Security after 10:00pm). If you decide to go this route, try using a time-management tool like the Pomodoro Technique to schedule short breaks for every hour of work. Rest your eyes every so often, since staring at a screen for hours at a time means that you blink less and yours eyes can become dry and irritated. You’re not a brain floating in a jar – your body still needs to rest every now and then, and you’ll do all your hard work this term a disservice if you crash right before the finish line!

2. Invest in Future You

And speaking of the finish line…if you can, take some time out of each day to pay a deposit towards Future You, whether that means buying groceries you know you’ll appreciate once you’ve submitted your last paper, finally responding to all the emails you’ve been avoiding, or just blocking off a couple of days once you’re done all your work when you don’t have any responsibilities at all.

When you’re devoting all your energy to one aspect of your life, everything else has a way of piling up – especially this time of year, when we’re all so busy. If you’re freaking out about the nebulous cloud of stuff you need to do and having trouble honing in on a specific task, try crossing one not-school thing off your to-do list and see if that helps you re-focus on school with a clearer head. Plus, it can be really comforting to remember that there are things that are important to you besides school, and that they’ll be waiting for you when you’re not knee-deep in assignments.

3. Make a to-do list (and then decide not to do some of it)

You probably already have a to-do list. Try reorganizing it from the most important task to the least important, and then cross at least one low-priority item off the list. You’ll get to it if everything else gets done, but for now, give yourself permission to let go of it completely. It’ll help you be realistic about what you actually need to do and how much energy you should be allotting to each task. As an added bonus, it can be really satisfying to look at something you were supposed to do and just say “NOPE.” (Sometimes I put things on my to-do list just so I can say “NOPE” to them.)

4. Let us help you! (That’s pretty much why we exist!)

If you’re feeling bogged down by stress right now, SAMRU wants to help out. December 12 -16 is Stress Less Week, which means that we’ll be popping up all over campus with services and activities to help you decompress and reenergize.  All Stress Less programs are free, so treat yourself to a massage, gentle flow yoga, a snack off the exam relief cart or a cuddle with a PADS service dog.

Stress Less: December 12 – 16, 2016

Exam Relief Food Cart (various locations)
11:30am until supplies run out
Dec 12: B Wing, Iniskim, Exam gym

Dec 13: EA Building, Library
Dec 14: EB Building, Exam gym
Dec 15: Accessibility Services, Y Wing, Library
Dec 16: T wing, O Wing, E wing

Crafts (Wyckham House – Main Stage Area)
11:30am until supplies run out

Dec 13, 15 & 16: Colouring
Dec 12: Calming glitter jars
Dec 14: Bath bombs

Puppy Room (Wyckham House – second floor lounge)

Dec 14 & 15 (11:00am – 1:00pm)

Gentle Flow Yoga (Wyckham House – Council Chambers)

Dec 13 & 15 (12:00pm – 1:00pm)

Movies (Wyckham House – Fort Room) 

Mon – Fri 11:00am – 4:00pm

Nap Room (Wyckham House – Z302)

Mon – Fri 10:00am – 4:00pm