Remember in the beginning of the semester you swore to yourself that this time it would be different? You vowed that you would not let things go to the last minute, and that you would actually do all the readings this time. Well now that it is finals time again, did you stick to your vows?
If you’re like me, the answer is a big fat NO. You think I would have learned my lesson before. After all, I’m graduating in less than a month, which means I have had seven previous opportunities to study way before my finals. But I have blown these chances a record seven times, a personal low. So how do I avoid this from happening again this semester?
According to Tuttleman Counseling Services, stress is the body’s reaction to situations that frighten, irritate or endanger you. One type of physiological reaction students experience is often referred to as the fight or flight syndrome. According to Tuttleman Counseling Services, students faced with a threatening situation can experience muscles tensing, blood pulsating through their head to provide more oxygen to the brain cells, and heart and respiration rates increasing. This type of reaction to stress is great when you’re being mugged on the street, but what if you’re facing a physics final?
When doing research for this article, I found many stress busting tips including “manage your time” and “maintain good nutrition.” But let’s face it, if you are stressed over a final, chances are it is about 2 a.m. the night before the exam and you are pumping as much caffeine into your system as possible. Here are some real tips that will benefit you immediately:
Relax: If you’re relaxed you’re not stressed, simple as that. One of the best ways to relax your mind is to relax your body. Get out of that chair you’ve been sitting in for three hours and walk around. Stretch and loosen certain parts of your body to get the blood flowing again, including your hands, feet, and back.
Breathe: Another great way to get the blood flowing is breathing, deep and slow inhaling and exhaling. This practice can reduce anxiety, fatigue and feelings of depression. It’s a quick fix when you’ve been in the library all night.
Think positive: Believe it or not, your brain is very much in control of how much you will stress over your exams. Though you cannot change the final being 3 p.m. tomorrow, you can change how you feel about that final. If you go into it thinking you will fail, you will more than likely stress yourself out to the point of making stupid mistakes. Go in with a clear mind and do the best you can.
Finally, as noted on the Tuttleman Counseling Services Web site, don’t try to get in those last few minutes before the exam to study. Use the time to do your breathing exercises instead. This will probably help a great deal more than the few last facts you read before the professor walks in can.
For more information or tips on coping with stress, visit www.temple. edu/counseling/, or stop by the Tuttleman offices located in the lower level of Sullivan Hall.
Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at email@example.com.