It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. NOT!

It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for me it is the most stressful time of the year. I have never been a good test taker. I have always stressed myself out more than necessary and I thought that would change when I got to college, I was wrong. In the classes I take, it is rare to take an actual test. I am given papers and projects instead, two things I enjoy, and still, I find myself stressing.

For some unknown reason, my stress has been exceptionally high this semester. I don’t know if it is because this is my last semester at college, if I piled too much on my plate, or if it is actually stressful. While talking to some of my friends and other people in my classes, I learned that they too find this semester to be extremely challenging. Maybe it is because this is the first semester back after the pandemic and we are experiencing the changes that come with that, or because we are trying to cram as much of the learning in as we can just in case we go back online, but this semester has been quite overwhelming.

It feels like just last week we were on fall break. I seemed to blink and we are at the end. I am both happy about that and nervous because I am done with this part of life while I still don’t know what will be at the end.
Preparing for finals is not an easy task, and everyone has their own way of doing that. For my classes that require papers or projects I try to get them done early not only to double and triple check them, but to also get a professor’s thoughts. When it comes to tests, I have what one would call a unique process. First, I take out all the material I will need to study and think about how much is going to be on the test. Then I cry a little bit, because really what else can you do? After I am finished crying and I convince myself it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I make quizlets, rewrite my notes in blue, and make sure I take breaks.

Taking breaks when studying, at least to me, is almost just as important as actually reviewing. For every hour I spend reviewing, I allow myself to take a half hour break. I learned after my first semester freshman year that without taking a break, my brain gets overwhelmed. It’s like circuits cut in my brain when I overwork it. I forget everything I studied because I try to cram way too much in there at once.

Avoiding stress can be hard to do during finals, but it isn’t impossible, and it is easy to find ways that make you feel better. For me, the sure-fire way to fix stress is as simple as a phone call with my nieces and nephews. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I call them because their innocence and lack of real-world problems instantly dissolves my stress.

Just talking about their days and finding out all the “drama” going on in their second and pre-k classes makes me forget about my problems for a little while.

Stress is a real thing, and you have to find a way to handle it that works for you.