If you are feeling anxious, stressed, and just plain tired, you are not alone. You’ve experienced a pandemic, social unrest and injustice, an election, “Zoom learning,” and you still have those finals to get through. The following are some things that will hopefully help a rough semester end a little more smoothly:
Establish a study “space”: whether you are on campus or at home, try to find a desk or table in a more private area that you can work at effectively. If you can’t find a private, quiet space, make use of noise-canceling headphones, music, or a something like a fan that emits white noise, to minimize distractions.
Establish a healthy routine: Pulling all-nighters is often considered a rite of passage in college, but it isn’t healthy. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and eat well-balanced meals & snacks that boost productivity. Meals should have proteins, grains, and fruits/vegetables, and should not be too heavy right before a study session or exam, as it may make you sleepy. Avocados, nuts, berries and dark chocolate can make good snacks, and be sure to stay hydrated. Water should be a “go-to” beverage even more than coffee!
Maintain self-care: Physical activity and down time, like routine, often get thrown out during finals. Try to keep them in, even in smaller amounts, as both give your brain and body time to recharge. Take a break (which is a good time to move and breathe!) every 60-90 minutes or so – you’ll likely find your brain bounces back faster.
Communicate: With your professors if you’re confused or struggling. They will hopefully be empathetic and willing to work with (not for) you to solve the problem. With your peers for support and suggestions. They are going through the same thing so asking for and offering help can make you feel less alone. With family and/or friends for a place to vent, take a break, or ask advice. And with yourself – remind yourself to focus on what you have control over in the present, because beating yourself up or worrying about things you can’t control is not effective. You are doing your best under difficult circumstances, so give yourself some grace and keep moving forward! Contact the UCA Counseling Center (www.uca.edu) if your struggles are interfering with your functioning.
Celebrate: Even if your grades are not what you’d hoped, getting through this unique time and semester is an accomplishment. Reward yourself in some small way as you get through each final and then with something bigger (which may be doing nothing at all!) when your finals are all done.