Stress! Manage it
It's getting to be that time of year when we're beginning to have to worry about our finals. By that I don't mean the final exams but the final assignments that often come with the finals. On top of that we have the usual work load as well. In my cinema class, I have an exam on Monday, and I will have a 5-page research paper about how race is displayed in film due at the end of the semester. In my sociology class, I have an exam on Tuesday, and I have 26 hours of community service to complete accompanied by 13 sets of 500-word field notes due by the end of the semester. In my FYI class, I have a 3-page research paper due on Tuesday, and I have to compile a 5-minutes long documentary by the end of the semester. Lastly for my Freshman Seminar, I have 10 interviews with police officers to finish by the end of the semester. Then of course all the usual reading material and worksheets for the week. I think it's safe to say that my plate is more than a little full, and the past couple days the stress has been weighing down on me. Stress makes it even harder to focus which is not good when you have so much to do.
I learned a little bit about how to deal with stress in high school because I took all AP classes my senior year and had a pretty big work load (of course probably not as big as the one I have now). I am a bit of a perfectionist and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do really well in school. But I've learned that every now and then you need to give yourself a break--take a mental health day and just put it out of your mind that you have so much on your shoulders. If you find yourself getting stressed out over your homework so much so that you can't focus but you keep trying at it because you've got to get it done but the pressure is so immense that you almost want to just burst into tears.....Stop. Just stop, go relax and watch some Comedy Central. One assignment can wait, you can give yourself just a tiny break every now and then just to take a breath from the stresses of college. Like me, I've been getting perfect attendance in all of my classes and I'm getting almost straight As, so on one stressed out day I didn't go to class. Everyone deserves to catch a break once in a while, especially if you've been working hard all semester. Give yourself a chance to re-boot and go hard on your homework when your mind is in a more peaceful place--you'll do better work that way. The same goes for when you have a lot on your plate like me right now and you're thinking "How the hell am I going to get all of this done?" You begin to panic and stress and you don't know where to start first and you think "This is it, college isn't for me, I am out of here, there's no way that this amount of work can be done in this amount of time, everyone expects WAY TOO MUCH OUT OF ME!!!" Take a step back. Take a breath. Everything's alright and you're doing just fine. Clear your mind and just stop over-thinking it. Make a list. Take everything that you have to worry about in the next week and organize them by the date that they are due. Ask yourself how long each thing is going to take, and then organize them by priority. Take the first thing that you have to worry about and tackle it, don't think about anything else that you have to do. When you look at the big picture, all you see is this big lump of crap that you have to work on and somehow turn into some sort of spectacular proof that you are a brilliant college student. But just take the first thing on your list and focus only on that one thing, take your time on it, don't stress. And at the end of it, you're going to cross it off your list and you know that's one more thing you don't have to worry about ever again and it feels freaking awesome. Then you take that energy and you carry it into the next thing on your list. Before you know it your sense of accomplishment outweighs your stress about the other things. You turned a mental breakdown into a productive day.
I hope that helps anyone suffering from the kind of stress I've been having. Now it's my turn to take my own advice. Happy college years, everyone. :-)