There have been multiple times at Swarthmore where I have literally felt like I’m under so much stress that I am legitimately going crazy. I wake up thinking, “Sleep was SUCH a bad idea!” or “SHOOT, I still have to finish these two papers, finish 250 pages of readings, and do a couple of journal entries.” I have even felt like, there is no possible way I can do all this work without my GPA going down the drain.
I will offer you guys some helpful tips for everyone who is having or will have one of those days—hell—one of those weeks!
- Take a deep breath. You’re beginning to think that your entire academic career is about to go up in smoke. But take a deep breath and remember that you WILL survive and get through this. Before you start to get annoyed by the little things your friends do—breathe. Before you start freaking out about how you should be doing work instead of going to class—breathe. Before you start doubting how you can even do this because everyone else seems to be going for a walk in the park – breathe. After you start freaking out you need to breathe and take a long look at the tasks that you have in front of you. After you have done that I bring you to tip #2.
- One step at a time. Trying to write two papers, finish the mountain of readings, and do even more weekly assignments can seem INCREDIBLY daunting. However, I encourage you to take a step back and attack these tasks one by one. Maybe finish one paper at a time and if you know your other paper is going to be late, then it’s just going to have to be late. Communicate with your professors and let them know that you are really putting in the effort to complete their assignment but you also have other academic commitments to your other, just as important, classes. Once you are done with one, you can breath and attack another assignment. Take one step at a time and you WILL get to the place where you want to be.
- Take about 20-35 minutes out of your day to not think about work. Thinking about all the commitments you have is overwhelming and unhealthy. Whether that study break is writing poetry, or working out, or playing dungeons and dragons, do what will make you happy and take you out of your academic setting. It’s important to your mental health. I promise you that there isn’t a crazy amount of progress you can do in 20-35 minutes that you can’t make up by shortening lunch or dinner. Plus, you will just about always come back to whatever you are working on feeling refreshed.
- Do some serious work with a peer. Working with a peer can help destress because there is a solidarity that comes with knowing that you are with someone who is in the same boat you are. Every so often you can check in with each other but it is also really important that you put your foot down and get to work so you can see and ultimately FEEL the sunlight at the end of the tunnel. After all, you need to motivate yourself, first and foremost.
- Remember that nothing is more important than your health. If you feel yourself getting more and more physically ill, you need to take a step back, email some professors and get better. Nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, is more important than your health. Along with physical health, your mental health is JUST as important. If you fear that you’re nearing a breakdown, take a moment, breathe, step away from you have to do and call a close friend and talk through some things. Not to mention, communicate where you are with your professors. Some may be more understanding than you think. It’s crucial that you realize that you will never put in your best work if you’re not at your best. You won’t have A+ ideas if your mental state is an F.
With all that said, I know that this is a hard week for so many people on this campus due to the fact that classes are almost over and professors may be getting more demanding with finals coming up, but keep reminding yourself that you will get through all the work you have to do. Have faith and confidence in yourself before you start to become so stressed out that you start thinking sleep is no longer important. Lastly, if all else fails, listen to some Beyonce and you will probably feel LOADS better.