If you’re anything like me, midterms are the time for procrastination and self-inflicted stress. Sometimes, it’s hard to study a week, or even a few days, before a test. Since freshman year I have studied in a crunch-time sort of way. That is, the night before an exam. Although this method definitely works (most of the time) to get me the grade that I desire, it definitely doesn’t work to provide long-term gains in knowledge. I think that hardest part about this is coming to term with the fact that grades aren’t everything. Once this is known, studying becomes more for the gain of learning what we are paying for, versus memorizing for the sake of the grade. What I’ve also realize though, is that once I decided I wanted to actually obtain the information in front of me, I started getting even better grades than before – who knew! One way that I have found works for me as a midterm de-stresser is to color. Yes, color. Not only does this help to sooth some of my anxiety, it can also be beneficially educationally. For example, draw a diagram of photosynthesis, using colors to distinguish different functions; or  draw out a calendar, marking different important dates with different colors. Creativity is never pointless. Another great de-stresser is poetry. Sometimes when I decide to watch TV as a break from school work I feel as if I’m waisting time. However, when I read poetry, even just before bed, I find that not only do I sleep better but I feel like I’ve gained something too. Here are more ideas on how to lighten the stress load this year:

  • Do yoga after a day of studying
  • Study with friends
  • Listen to classical music while studying
  • Drink wine
  • Visit a happy hour spot for a quick break
  • Mix up your study locations
  • Study ahead of time – organize!
  • Wake up earlier
  • Light a candle
  • Substitute coffee with water
  • Take your time
  • Utilize YouTube
  • Recite what you’re studying to yourself
  • Never shut off your brain

The most important study/test taking mechanism? Remember, you’re f***ing smart!