Avery: How To Take Care of Yourself During Midterm Season

Midterm season is upon us, and basically everyone I know is stressed and overtired. How could you not be? All midterms seem to happen for every single class at the same time, and with clubs, internships, and jobs, having free time is a rare occurrence in many of our lives.

Keeping that in mind, I wanted to take this post to remind people to take care of themselves during this stressful time. It can be so easy to down 3 coffees and pull an all-nighter the day before a big exam, but it can be pretty difficult to actually practice healthy ways of staying stress-free, remembering self care and wellbeing during this busy time.

I have compiled a list of methods that I use to maintain a stress-free life when I feel overwhelmed. Some of these may seem pretty self-explanatory, but I hope that by putting them out there I’m reminding everyone to relax and focus on the positive 🙂

1. Don’t stop doing the things you love!

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to continue to do things that make you happy if you are stressed or overwhelmed. I personally enjoy exercising (I’m on the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team here at BU!), writing (I write for Hoochie, a feminist blog and anthology series), and unwinding by hanging out with friends. Even during busy weeks, I try not to skip too many clubs, meetings, or social gatherings because sometimes taking the time out of your day to do the things you love with the people you love is enough to transform your mindset and help you grind through that last page of your essay.

2. Practice self care.

For me, this means either spending a night in watching Netflix or a good movie, or going out and doing something new and exciting in the city. We have the entire city of Boston at our fingertips, so use it! Last night, after studying for my Comp Sci exam all day, I went out with some friends and tried a new restaurant in the North End. It didn’t take too much time out of my day, but it still got me off campus and felt like a breath of fresh air after working for so long. And if going out isn’t your thing, staying in is just as therapeutic! Have a “treat yo-self” night and watch a feel-good movie while eating comfort foods. Sometimes this simple method of self-care can make all the difference in the world.

3. SLEEP A LOT!!

Okay, we all know this isn’t totally realistic considering the fact that we are all in college and super busy all the time, but even after a night of 3 hours of sleep, napping is your best friend. To be honest, I couldn’t really nap until recently because I’m a very light sleeper and found it hard to nap during the day. If this sounds like you, consider getting an eye mask or ear plugs to help you fall asleep during the day. I did and it honestly changed my life- now I’m a huge fan of napping and you should be too!!

4. Do something nature-y (if that’s your jam).

So not all of us are inclined to outdoorsy things, but if you are, find a nice spot outside where you can study or just take a walk outside! The foliage is beautiful this time of year, and you might as well take full advantage of the weather before it gets insanely cold in Boston. I like taking walks around the Common or Esplanade to destress, or even window-shopping along Newbury Street. If you’re into more rigorous outdoor exercise, the BU Outing Club coordinates weekend hiking trips all over New England, which I would highly recommend!

5. Remember, it’s the little things that count!

Sometimes, it’s the smallest tasks that you can check off your to do list that make all the difference. For you, this may mean making your bed everyday so that your room looks a little neater when you leave for classes. In the same vein, it may mean cleaning your room more often, especially if your desk is your primary study space. I’ve found that having a clear desk to work on clears my mind as well. Other small things may be exercising more, eating healthier, or various other small tasks that have been sitting on your to do list for ages. Even if you feel like you’re all over the place in terms of schoolwork, getting other things out of the way will clear your head and make for a better mindset when attempting to accomplish tasks in other facets of your life.

Hopefully these tips were helpful! I think they are all very doable, but sometimes it just takes the extra push to get out there and get your mind off of schoolwork for a couple of hours. This is your reminder to do just that!! Remember that you GOT this, you’re incredible, and, most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF <3

Jon: The 4 Most Underrated Study Spots for Midterm Season

Midterm season is officially in full swing. Stress levels are at an all-time high. Students are cramming into Mugar like sardines. The GSU Starbucks is running out of coffee. Sleep deprivation levels are skyrocketing. And it’s only October!
It’s okay if you feel like pulling your hair out – we all do! But if you’re looking for some peace and quiet in these trying times, and you actually want to get things done without dealing with swarms of people, check out these 5 low-key study spots that will help you retain your sanity.
1. Boston Public Library – This is the Godfather of all study spots. People don’t even consider the largest library in the city when they think of places to study because it’s not on campus, but its just a quick T ride over to Copley Square. At the BPL, quiet is the law, so you never have to worry about people bothering you. Not to mention the building itself is incredible, and you feel as if you are studying in a place that was actually designed to let people relax and read. There are no Mugar cubicles here!
2. The Dean’s Lounge – On the Third Floor of the GSU, the Dean’s lounge is a little area that has big tables and big chairs. You’ll be studying in comfort for sure, and the chairs are always prime to take a nap in. Also, did I mention that there are no people? There is almost always a space open at the Dean’s Lounge.
3. Barnes and Noble – So believe it or not the B & N in Kenmore square actually has a space for people to sit and read. (Reading in a book store? Who’da thunk it!) There usually aren’t many people there and it’s really quiet. Just go up to the second floor of the store and you’ll see a little area lined with magazines thats just a prime-o spot for reading.
4. CAS Classrooms – If you really want to cheat the system and find a place with complete peace and quiet – then pop into a classroom somewhere in CAS sometime in the evening. By about 7, classes are pretty much done with, and there are plenty of open rooms scattered throughout the building. If you really just want to work without anyone else, then this is maybe the quietest way to do it. You could even bring in some friends and study using the white board if ya want.
Happy studying and good luck on midterms!

Tiffany: Midterm De-Stressers

It’s about that time in the semester where the academic work load has gotten heavier with midterm exams/projects that won’t seem to end until its time for finals to begin. But not to fear because I have come up with a list of some of my favorite midterm de-stressers! Just because I have exams and projects due does not mean that I don’t make the time to still enjoy the things that get me out of bed each morning and keep me going. Here is a list of how I keep sane during midterm season:

 

 

 

1. Practice with my dance team, Fusion

Taking part in student groups on campus is a way to not only meet new people, but also help take the mind off academic stress. I personally use my dance team’s practices to temporary forget all my worries and channel my energy into something that I love, while spending time with my friends in a proactive manner.

 

 

 

2. A walk along the Esplanade

Autumn is my favorite time of year and taking a walk along the Charles River, admiring the changing color of the leaves, is the perfect way to ease my mind. Stretching the legs a bit with some exercise also does great things for the body and mind!

 

 

 

3. A warm beverage

Whether it is a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning or a cup of milk and honey before I go to bed at night, a warm beverage always makes me feel good. During midterm season, I often like to treat myself to a warm almond milk tea from one of my favorite cafes, Infusion Tea Spa in Allston. The walk from my apartment in Stuvi is only a few minutes away and the reward of a delicious warm drink makes for a great study break.

 

 

 

4. Baking with my roommates

My apartment-mates and I have started this weekly tradition where we always bake together on Thursdays. As midterms started creeping up on us, we were a bit worried whether our hectic schedules would allow for us to keep up our tradition. But with good time management, we made sure to make time for Baking Thursdays as spending that quality time together is important to us. Though social-hour may happen a bit less during midterms, it is still important to have some fun and enjoy time with friends!

 

 

So if you find yourself overwhelmed by the craziness of midterms, think about some activities that you truly enjoy and utilize them to ultimately make your study time more productive! Good luck to all with exams and projects!

Dany: Do You Have Your Study Buddy?

I don’t know about you guys, but it’s getting to be that time of year again for me. Midterms. When all those times spent procrastinating on Tumblr and Netflix and barely skimming long, dense readings come back to haunt you. Well, here are some pro-tips for getting through the battle.

1. Take breaks.

Believe me, nothing productive will come from a 15-hour cram session. Your brain needs to relax. Focus on what you need to do but when you start to read the same sentence eight times and the room gets blurry, it’s time to stop. Walk around, stretch your legs, get something to eat. Smoothies help me concentrate and they always perk me back up when I’m starting to lose focus.

2. Know your study pattern.

My notes always look like Office Depot threw up on them. Everything is color-coded by highlighters and sharpie pens with the appropriate post-its where I jot down questions I have while studying. It helps me stay organized and during exams, I can visualize my notebook and remember the answer. That’s how I work. Everyone learns differently, so my point here is find your routine. Establish your study method and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it works.

3. Plan ahead.

This one is the hardest one for me because my schedule tends to be packed to the minute. But I know that if I make little sacrifices and set guidelines for what to study, I’ll be much better off. Usually about a week or so before an exam, I’ll take a look at the syllabus and see what’s going to be on it. Then I just divide it up into sections and study a little bit everyday, leaving the day before the exam as a review. This keeps me from not getting stressed and if I have any questions, I have plenty of time to stop by my professor’s office hours and ask.

4. Find your study buddy.

One of the first things I do when I walk into a class for the first time is look for someone I know or make friends. It’s always helpful to know at least one person in each class to compare notes with, quiz each other, and just talk about the material. When you’re really struggling to understand something, simply having a conversation about it with someone else and speaking in layman’s terms can help put you on the right track. Two heads are better than one!

That said, it’s back to the Mugar Marathon for me! Good luck everyone!

Jon: Surviving Midterms

Jon ImageMidterms. That dreaded word that causes students everywhere to quake upon hearing it. What’s scarier than the thought of the first big cumulative exam of the semester? The tell-all test when you reveal if you’ve been actively learning all semester or if you’ve been sliding down into your lecture hall seat and grabbing an hour or two of beauty rest every day. Get ready, cause it’s show time.

As spring break begins next week, professors tend to be loading on projects and exams left and right, in an attempt to get that one last evaluation in before students flee to sunshine and warm beaches. However, if you can keep your head among all this craziness, it’s more than possible to manage your time and successfully conquer your midterms. Here’s a handy list of tips to how you can survive “hell week”.

1)      SLEEP – This comes first on the list because it is by far the most important preparatory tool and is also the easiest to sacrifice when things get crazy. Make sure first and foremost that you get your 9 ½ hours every night, because once you start to slip on that, you’ll fall into a vicious cycle of working inefficiently and therefore sacrificing more sleep as tasks take longer to complete. Also, research shows you will be happier, healthier, and better academically if your brain has the rest it needs.

2)      Drink lots of water – It’s easy to fall prey to the tantalizing lures of coffee and energy drinks, which promise to give you those extra hours of focus you need. However, if you’re not getting enough water in your day, these diuretics will make you jittery and irritable. Hydration is key to staying healthy, so try to limit your consumption of caffeinated beverages.

3)      Start studying early – What seems to be common sense to any impartial bystander is often ignored by frantic college students. The more of a head start you get on your studying, the more prepared you will be. I try to plan at least a week’s worth of course review, so that if gaping holes in my knowledge appear I have time to do something about them.

4)      On a similar note, DON’T study the night before an exam – This old adage that they told you in SAT prep classes applies to your college tests as well. Chances are you aren’t going to be retaining anything you’re trying to learn or review at this point. Watch a movie, play a video game, go to the gym, or just hang out with your friends. De-stressing and getting enough rest is the best preparation you can get the night before a test. I can’t emphasize this point enough – don’t fall prey to the “last-minute-all-nighter-double-header” study sessions your friends or floor mates might be engaging in, it’s not worth it.

These four tips may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget about them or rationalize not doing them.  Stand by this list, and make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health, and you’ll be well on your way to midterm success.
Stay frosty,

Jon