As the semester draws closer and closer to finals season, many students find themselves at a mental breaking point. Between endless all-nighters, numerous assignments, and a rapidly declining social life, the exams season can seem daunting and completely overwhelming.
Luckily, others have been through this as well and have created this small resource in order to help students with the difficulties of their academic journey.
1. Minimize Multitasking
When you have assignments, classes, miscellaneous tasks throughout the day and still need to find time to study while still getting an adequate amount of sleep, the idea of multitasking may come to mind. In essence, dividing your time between different tasks at the same time theoretically should minimize the amount of overall time you use and effectively save you time.....right?
Not quite. In fact, the process of multitasking is actually harmful to your academic career AND mental health.
In essence, when you multitask, you attempt to focus your brain on multiple things at the same time. But, much like trying to look left and right at the same time, the human body is not meant to do such a thing.
As Kim Flawcet in the mentalfloss.com article "Why Multitasking is Bad" states:
"You’re unable to organize your thoughts or filter out unnecessary information. As a result, your efficiency plummets—and so does the quality of your work. Each time we complete a small task—sending an email, tweeting, etc.—our brains are blasted with a dose of the reward hormone dopamine. It feels good, which means we’re likely to keep bouncing back and forth between tiny, unimportant goals without getting anything major done. And even if we’ve set aside time to delve into a time-consuming project, the mere knowledge of a new email or text lurking in our inboxes can keep us distracted. According to some research, this constant anticipation can actually lower our IQ by as much as 10 points."
So, instead of trying to cram all of those tasks onto your to-do list only to reach the inevitable conclusion that you can't possibly finish it all by the end of the day, try some of these tips instead:
2. Take Time for Self Care
Taking time to pause from the relentless pace of everyday life and enjoy creative activities that keep you from dwelling on or stressing over school pressures can go far in decreasing your stress levels. By taking time to engage the other side of your brain, as well as giving yourself time to process the information without adding more into the mix, you actually increase your level of understanding and expedite the learning process. The above image, though very basic, lists a few of the known ways in which reduction of stress through self care can be used to get a handle on your stress levels.
3. Learn to Change Your Thinking
When you start stressing about not finishing your project on time, your mind builds a case for why what you believe is going to happen will happen — and this can be paralyzing. So, when combating negative thinking patterns, it is recommended to come up with specific examples to counter the stressful thoughts. Think instead of concrete ways that you can create the time to work on a project, and how your previous line of thinking isn’t accurate. Several good examples include: