As the first few weeks of the second semester settle in around us, it can feel like it is only a matter of time until things begin to spiral out of control once again. It doesn’t need to be this way.
By the end of term one, many of us are left in ruins. Perhaps, you are burnt out from a full course load, took on too many responsibilities or didn’t do as well as you would have hoped last term. It’s done now, so let’s leave the stress that threatened to bury you behind — now unburdened, you can redeem yourself over the next three months.
Study more, stress less
Maybe, you say it every term — or after every midterm — but the best way to secure a successful semester is by upping your studying game. While the dreaded panic of cramming for an exam strangely feels easier — think of all the time wasted reviewing those extended Netflix sessions — it is actually more time consuming, more stressful and far less efficient.
If you focus on course work every day or review at least once a week, you’ll have a better chance of understanding the content and won’t have to spend countless hours trying desperately to fill your brain the day before an exam.
If you keep yourself familiar with the material, not only will you have a better chance of retaining it but you will also be able to see where you are having difficulty. This means you’ll know exactly what areas you should focus on when it’s crunch time.
While it may be daunting to focus on things that are difficult or those topics that make you feel inadequate, the quicker you address them, the more you can achieve in the long-term.
If you have trouble with math, take the extra time to work through practice problems. Oftentimes, with repetition, we are able to overcome our deficits. It might be difficult to face your demons and defeats, but in the end, we need a little discomfort to grow.
As the worn out phrase goes, work smarter not harder. Perhaps, this year, I will take my own advice and commit to more weekly study sessions, but if you find me crying in a corner of the Health Sciences Library come April, don’t be surprised.
Don’t fall for the same old traps
We are all guilty of unhealthy thoughts and behaviours, and we cannot deny the fact that we are creatures of habit. Procrastination is one of the most common traps that can derail our success. Like our weaknesses, once we recognize and identify our distractions, we can overcome the power they have over us.
Social media and streaming services can be valuable stress relievers, but they can be disruptive and destructive if they start to interfere with achieving your goals. Sometimes, when stress peaks, you might want to ditch all responsibilities and run — or crawl under your blankets and pretend the world outside doesn’t exist.
Sure, sometimes, we need a day to pause and recharge, but if those days are more frequent than your days of productivity, there might be a problem.
Find your motivation and go easy on yourself
Finding your motivation and your inspiration might be the most important keys to success. Identify what gets you excited and engaged, and then, make sure you carve out time for those activities. We all need to focus on what we are interested in — if you aren’t pursuing a degree that gets you fired up, then make sure to set aside some time for that passionate outlet.
Lastly — and perhaps the most valuable piece of advice — go easy on yourself. If you pile on too much pressure, it’s likely that you will just crumble under the weight instead of transforming into a precious diamond. Believe in yourself and trust your abilities, but know your limits.
Erin Matthews / Opinions Editor
Graphic: Prince Olubiyi