Midterm survival kit: Self-care habits to consider

By Michelle Chung ’20

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After a few weeks into the semester, college students can easily feel overwhelmed by the never-ending essays and midterms that all professors seem to schedule for the same time. Especially with the addition of other campus responsibilities, it’s important to remember how to indulge in self-care and relaxation.

Make studying easy.

Everyone has their own way of studying, whether it’s by reciting the material aloud in study groups, reading through the material or writing up study guides. Even so, one of the best ways to prepare for a midterm is to get into exam-mode. Studying in exam-mode can mean doing practice problems in the classroom where the exam will take place, staying silent when doing work or going through old exams with the same format.

Don’t spend your time studying 24/7.

As easy as it is to stay cooped up in the library hunched over a desk staring at your textbook for hours, sometimes, your brain just needs a break. 

Dozens of scientific studies have shown that working for extended periods of time without pause is counterproductive and will just end up making your brain feel like mush. It’s better to plan to spend a solid chunk of time forgetting about your responsibilities and just letting yourself refuel so that once you get back to work, you’ll be much more re-energized and ready to power through.

Get a massage or pet some cute puppies.

Hamilton definitely knows how difficult college life can be and does their best to make sure that students have the resources they need during stressful times. While we may take a lot of these opportunities for granted, frequent events like Chair Massage Tuesdays at the Fitness Center and the adorable dog visits at the Days-Massolo Center are great ways to decompress and chill after long days of studying.

But also, plan ahead and stay organized.

Though it’s important to take breaks, it can also be very tempting to take ‘breaks’ that actually never end. Make sure you plan a schedule that has enough time to work and time to relax, so you’re not forced to cram ten minutes before your exam actually starts. While momentary bliss may be great during that really long ‘break,’ leaving your work all for last minute can be extremely stressful to handle and won’t help your exam grade. Use your time well and keep a balance where you can work hard but still play hard.

Prioritize your health and well-being (which means you should sleep).

During midterms week, it’s especially important to recognize how you’re doing mentally. Feeling stressed can happen often but if life gets too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, professors or even those willing to help on campus. The Counseling Center is a great resource for not only talking out personal issues but also for simply decompressing. 

From art therapy sessions to yoga workshops to introspective discussions, the Counseling Center and the college in general provides great services that remind you of how important it is to care for your mental health (especially during a time like midterms week).

Midterms week doesn’t necessarily have to be a hell week, especially if you focus on taking care of yourself even while working. 

Don’t forget to schedule the time to take time for yourself and do what you have to do. Take a break when you need it and do something just for your own benefit.

Take a deep breath, plan it all out and have faith in your abilities to ace your midterms.

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