Keep Calm and Don’t Go “Sicko Mode” This Semester

A lesson on how to minimise stress as you study

Don’t let stress get the best of you this semester. (flickr/ UBC Learning Commons)

It’s about that time again. Summer starts fading. Cold weather cascades across the land. Everyone’s cheerful mood darkens, and a dreadful period in every student’s life arises once more. 

That’s right, it’s back to school time. It’s a time where stress hits peak levels, and if you’re not prepared, the obstacles you face can be overwhelming. 

That being said, there are ways to make your new semester easier whether you’re a returning student, or first-year newbie.

One key method that many students have heard countless times, but sadly overlook, is the simple art of being organized. The less organized you are, the more chaotic your study habits will be. Sometimes, it’s best to pause for a second and look over all of your past work: papers, assignments, workbooks, anything that takes up mass in your workspace. You’ll be surprised how epic a feeling it is when you rid yourself of that mile-high stack of marketing papers that never needed to be there in the first place. 

Another organizing method that I find crude but effective is taking all of the crap you have in your workspace, forming it into a giant pile, sorting through it, and trashing anything that you don’t need so you can organize the things you do. Sure, it’s a time-consuming process, and more than once you might discover something that you had totally forgotten about. Of course, this method may not apply to everyone, and many will have their own ways of organizing a messy space. But by clearing out the clutter in your usual workplace, your ability to think becomes clearer and your potential for distraction minimized.

Another tool you can use for having a successful semester is being prepared. This can range from arriving several minutes early before class to get settled in or printing out a PDF of your class booklist so the bookstore attendant won’t have to embark on a wild goose chase across the store, taking up everyone’s time and pissing off whoever is behind you in line. Booking any academic accommodations you may need beforehand, such as having a keyboard to type on or being in a noise-reduced environment while writing a test, has helped me tremendously in my pursuit to become Hunter S. Thompson, or at least to obtain my Bachelor in Journalism.

Yes, true, university is about busting your backside and working extra hard to achieve success, but one thing to keep in mind is this: maintain a work and play balance. 

It’s okay to push yourself to work hard, but there comes a point when your body needs rest. Some will tell you that overworking and sacrificing personal time to get those extra study hours is fine. I disagree with such an assumption. 

Worried that those two hours you spent playing Warframe with your friends is gonna make you fail in academics? Don’t be! Taking a break from your studies and allowing your body and mind the time to recover actually helps you think. That surge of dopamine that you gave your brain will help you in the long run. A stressed brain struggles to maintain information, as opposed to a healthy, less-fatigued brain, which can retain information for longer periods of time.

All of these tips are vital to surviving the new semester. By organizing your workplace, preparing yourself for your lessons, and balancing goofing off and studying, you’ll find your time at university to be a fun one!

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