They’re here. I can feel it in the air. I may be out of college, but this time of year always brings me a strong sense of impending doom. It’s like I have horror movie music playing in my head, signaling the approach of something terrifying. Even now, as a college graduate, the fear lingers in the back of my mind...so I’ve decided to put this emotional scarring to good use, and do some good with it. So, without further ado, here are my tips to surviving midterms.
1. A primary shopping list
In order to survive midterms, there are some things you’ll want to pick up. Make sure you have tissues on hand, either for the stress-induced tears, or for the inevitable virus you suddenly come down with (because why WOULDN’T this happen during midterm week?!). Find your favorite caffeinated beverage and stock up. Whether it’s tea, Red Bull, soda, coffee, or even some sort of strange mix of these, drink up. In my opinion, calories don’t count during midterm week….which brings me to the next item: CHOCOLATE. The good thing about fall midterms is that they come around Halloween time, so candy is easily accessible. Chocolate has a magical way of keeping you (somewhat) sane, so treat yo’self. And finally, stress acne is real. This isn’t something most people think of, but I always made sure to have my acne cream fully stocked around midterm time. (And if you’re a makeup-wearer, do your best to let your skin breathe to minimize the damage!)
2. Know how YOU relax!
Everyone has a different way of calming down. Some people need to be active, and make some extra trips to the gym to relieve their stress (I envy these people immensely). Some people make a special playlist for themselves. Some people squeeze a stress ball. Some people talk to a therapist. You know your body and your mind, and it’s up to you to do what will help you get through! Of course, there are some habits you may not want to give too much credit to (coming from an admitted stress-eater), so make sure you keep in mind that you’re trying to make yourself succeed, not fuel bad habits.
3. Dress to de-stress!
Midterm week is a week where “real pants” are optional, if not even discouraged. If you don’t already have a favorite pair of sweatpants, add that to your shopping list. I also recommend a soft blanket and a pair of cozy slippers. Yes, these can accompany you to the library. If you want to be cozy but still want to KIND OF look like a real human, I’ve got you covered. But, again, real clothes NOT required.
4. Don’t be afraid to cry.
Maybe I’m just dramatic, but I always did a lot of crying during midterms/finals. Early on in my college career, I was ashamed of this. In fact, during my freshman year, I found a secret basement bathroom on campus where I would go and cry for (at least) an hour. But as college went on, I noticed that EVERYONE CRIES SOMETIMES. Sometimes you have to let it out. You may need to lean on your friends, you may cry with them, or you may need to take some time to yourself to let yourself ugly-cry. Letting your emotions out is actually the healthy thing to do- and you are not weak for it. Plus, some of the best friendships are made when you cry over an assignment together (some of my best friendships were made in my thesis class for this exact reason).
5. Give yourself a break!
Even if the world feels like it’s crashing in on you, sometimes you need to take a mental break and reward yourself for all your hard work (assuming you’ve worked hard). I’ve always loved the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” You won’t do your best work if you haven’t gotten any sleep, or if you’re not emotionally “there.” If you need a power nap, or even if you need to take 23 minutes to watch your favorite episode of The Office to cheer you up and refocus, sometimes that’s ok! The time will go by anyhow, and you can either spend it recharging your battery, or further draining it (while not even putting it to good use). Remember that your well-being comes first!
I know that most of this advice is easier said than done….in fact, the reason I have this advice to give you is because I learned these lessons the hard way (by NOT doing any of this). But hey, hindsight is 20/20.
If you can take even ONE message away from this, it’s that in the grand scheme of things, midterms are just one part of college. Of course you should try your best, but you shouldn’t let midterms ruin your life. You won’t remember any of this in three years (that’s coming from someone who graduated 5 months ago!).
The moral of the story is that this week will pass, and you will survive, and no matter what happens, if you try your best, the worst can’t happen. So take it day by day, wear your coziest sweats, eat chocolate like it’s a vitamin, and do what you’ve gotta do to set yourself up for success.
YOU’VE. GOT. THIS.
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