With finals just around the corner, a lot of students are struggling to find ways to both be productive and take care of themselves — especially after a year of distance learning.
During my midterms, I experimented with ways to balance studying and unwinding. Here is a list of a few of my favorite ways to achieve that special balance.
1. Socially-distanced study group
I always appreciate studying with other people. Unfortunately, once my school shut down, I couldn’t do regular study groups in the library anymore. Instead, my friends and I organized an outdoor socially distanced study picnic. It’s a great way to spend some time outside and makes studying for upcoming exams just a little bit more enjoyable. If being outside isn’t your style, you can still make studying a group experience. You can create an exam prep Discord or Zoom with your friends.
2. Work in minor breaks throughout the day
If you prefer studying alone, it’s still important to step away from the computer. Zoom fatigue is very real, and working in a couple of short breaks throughout your day can help you stay focused. If you’ve been working for a few hours, get up, stretch and make yourself a cup of tea.
You could also do something else on your to-do list that doesn’t require being in front of a screen. Maybe you’ve been meaning to tidy up your room. You can put on a podcast or some music and clean up your work area. I know for me, having a clean workspace helps me focus better, and cleaning is a good excuse to turn my brain off for a few minutes.
3. Take a walk in between periods
On the day of exams, it’s really tempting to spend the whole day staring at a computer screen. To avoid this, I tried to find time between exam periods to spend some time outside. Spending time in nature can greatly improve your mood, whether it’s just a quick few minutes on your front steps in between periods or a walk around your block after your chem exam.
4. Plan to do something you enjoy post-finals
Sometimes, it feels like finals week can go on forever. To keep myself from getting caught up in all the stress, I like to plan something special for the last day of the week. It’s nice to have something to look forward to. Whether it’s cooking yourself a nice meal or having a Netflix Party movie night with your friends, it’s a great way to celebrate all the work you’ve done.
Making it through finals, especially this year, is tough. It’s important to recognize and reward yourself for all your hard work.