Surviving Finals

Some of my blogs have talked about the importance of managing mental health. With finals here, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With stress, I sometimes feel exhausted from studying and completing several projects on time. With depression, I may not be motivated to prepare for exams or have no hope to pass them. With anxiety, I would get super nervous before taking an exam if I know I’m not prepared. Having these feeling makes it hard, but not impossible to get a good grade. Having some tools to combat these thoughts and feelings also make a huge impact too.

First tool is time management. This is a concept everyone has heard about. It’s annoying being told that I need to work on managing my time wisely, but it’s true. With summer right after finals, it’s easy to get distracted from studying. When it’s time to turn in assignments, it can be very stressful working on things without taking a break. There are also those times when projects are due the same day. When this happens to me, anxiety kicks in. It feels impossible to work on so many things at once. Then I remember a quote my mom always says which is “How do you eat an elephant?”. It’s a weird question but relates to time management. You can’t eat an elephant in one sitting, it’s impossible. It’s better to eat it in several, smaller meals with breaks in between. In this case, the elephant is school work. It’s important to finish assignments, but it’s also important to take a break every so often. So, no matter how daunting the elephant might be, it is still possible to finish it all, just take it one step at a time.

Second tool is communication. Talking to others could be exhausting or scary, but they could also be helpful. This could be parents, siblings, friends, professors, etc. You just need a network you can look to for advice. For me, talking to my mom or friends is a great stress reliever and allows me to vent about issues. They give ideas on how I should approach a project or problem. They motivate me when I feel sad about a grade. Something I learned this year is that it’s important to reach out to my professors and TA’s. When a concept doesn’t make sense, I email or talk to them in person. Most professors are happy to help their students during their office hours. If you have a professor that’s not very helpful, go to another professor teaching that class or the many resources offered at VCU. It’s easier to deal with college when you have a support system.

It’s important to have good mental health, especially during this time of the semester. These tools can help keep your sanity during finals. Do the things that make you happy whether that be doing a hobby, exercising, or just hanging out with friends. Remember that when the world seems to push you down, there is always a way to get back up. You can survive finals.

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