Midterm season in the fall term hits like a brick wall coming out of left field.
One moment you are strolling through the campus grounds, enjoying the crisp fall breeze and admiring the cacophony of red, yellow and orange leaves. Next, you have assignments, exams, labs, reports and every other deadline imaginable squished into a deceptively short couple of weeks. Perhaps what we all need then — or more accurately, now — is a healthy dose of de-stressing tips.
Rather than recycling self-help tips that never quite land and are mostly meant to remain on the pages of books and blogs, I thought I would come up with some myself. While attempting to assemble a thoughtful list, I found myself experiencing higher and higher levels of stress — ironically, the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve with the article.
So, instead, I reached out to the best possible source I could think of — fellow students.
When asked about how they “keep calm and midterm on,” the overwhelming majority of students started off with a claim of the importance of time management. Some even pointed to their physical day planners, or, for the technology enthusiasts, to the newest planning app on their phone, for good measure.
However, after a pause, most students that offered these tips admitted that they didn’t follow them. It’s what they thought they had to say. However, they confessed a few quirky things they did do to keep afloat.
One student described how, every Friday night, they escape into another world completely different from their own. They get to meet new people, learn about their problems — rather than delve on their own — and sometimes save a universe or two. If this sounds like a virtual reality game, think again. You can partake in this activity by tuning into any movie, show or documentary on any device and platform.
So perhaps, next weekend, you and your fellow students will save the universe together. Even better, what if you saved a universe during the weekday?
Another student told me how after hours of studying, with algorithms and math symbols floating in their head, they give their brain a break by giving a crack at their second career — stand-up comedy.
They track down an audience, often whoever is at home, and give it a shot. Or two. Or many. Sometimes the jokes land. Often, however, the jokes get stuck on the ceiling, with no chance of coming down. As they put it, that way, we can all ride high for a while longer.
So the comedy industry better watch out, because in the next few years, it’s going to be graced with the talents of many USask students, all who got their start here at the U of S with assignments and exams.
Another student described, in great detail, how they rearrange every bit of their room and house. After all, with a billion thoughts running through their own head, the best way to organize them all is to organize the physical space. A consequence of this might be that your space is no longer recognizable, but alas, this is how the next design trend will be created.
The list of quirky ideas doesn’t end here. Some students described putting together bands for fun while others spoke of exploring new, uncharted waters. My favorite suggestion was one many students gave — simply lying down and closing your eyes.
I tell you, naps are a game changer.
While some students did have plenty of ideas on how to de-stress, a very common reaction I got to my question was a blank face and a long pause, after which many students admitted they didn’t do much to de-stress, didn’t know where to start or how to accommodate it into their schedules and were genuinely looking for ways to make their university journey a bit easier.
Perhaps the lesson to take away from all this is that whether you play video games, binge a show, crack jokes, clean your room, play an instrument or sleep, de-stressing can take many different forms and no form of self-care is superior to another.
The most important thing is that you do something for yourself, both now and after midterms — no matter how quirky it may be — because self-care should matter always.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a reply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Vaidehee Lanke is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying bioinformatics and is the Opinions Editor at The Sheaf Publishing Society.