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Midterm Stress Management

Hello and welcome to the very first LSS Blog Post! My name is Anumta and I am one of the LSS Talk Show Hosts this academic year.

At this point of the semester, it comes as no surprise just how much work is piling up. Research assignments? Formal reports? Group projects and even midterms? If you have any one or all of these, it’s safe to assume that you are probably a stressed out student running on pure caffeine and adrenaline. HOWEVER, do not worry because today I’ll be sharing my best tips to manage the dreaded “midterm stress.” I will be sharing my best top 5 tips that will hopefully make your life a little easier:

Tip #1: Create a daily content schedule - essentially review all of the tasks you need to complete for the next two weeks. This includes assignments, midterms, and reports. Then, break each task into smaller objectives/topics that you need to complete or review and assign them to each day of the two weeks. This allows you to make a checklist of smaller, more achievable tasks that you can accomplish daily without having to do all of the work of deciding how to make the most use of your time, because sometimes the hardest part is figuring out where to start and what to do. This tip had saved me so much stress during the second semester of my first year and I wish I used it earlier. You can use any platform to implement this tip: note apps, calendar, notion etc. Bonus: leave some days empty as back-up days in case you can’t complete all of the tasks you set out.

Tip #2: Use available resources to make your work and life easier. I’m sure some of you have realized just how precious each extra minute of time is, so why not use tools that can save you even more time? Some of these include using extensions that help in tracking your citations, grammar-check websites that can check for grammar mistakes in a few minutes as opposed to spending many hours by yourself, and quizlets from previous year students that convert most content into questions to practice/test yourself on. Although, one of the most useful resources are the McMaster Library Services, anything from database searching to how to formulate your search inquiries to get more useful and specific content. Learning how to navigate the library as early as possible will prove to be your most useful skill throughout your university career. There is an abundant amount of people to reach out to and online guides to access in order to best use the services. Reach out to your nearest librarian for help as they are the most knowledgeable!

Tip #3: Take the time to review concepts and schedule meetings with instructors who can help you understand the content. I cannot stress just how important this tip is. The earlier that you find out what you do not know, the faster you can get help. It is not fun at all to cram study for a midterm the night before only to realize everything sounds like a foreign language. Be proactive and try to review the content at a proper schedule and attend your instructor’s office hours to get help. Office hours is the best “first” point of contact for help as you can get clarity directly from the source, and if you can go earlier, you can beat the busy office hours that happens right before test day, the ones where all the students attend to get help last minute (even if this is you, do not skip because you can learn a lot from other students’ questions). Email instructors and TA’s with questions if that is a more accessible option for you. In my experience, the responses came in within a few hours or by the next day, the latest. If none of those sources are helpful to you, by reviewing content early, you can consult the internet, textbook, and youtube videos as you study to supplement your learning.

Tip #4: Practice self care - This one is very self-explanatory. Eat well-balanced, healthy, nutritious meals everyday and DO NOT skip any of them (breakfast to dinner is essential). Stay well hydrated, and try to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Additionally, take time for yourself to get some exercise, fresh air, and frequent breaks during the day. When you are at your best physically, you can achieve far more than what you could if you were sleep-deprived, hungry, or thirsty.

Tip #5: Your mental health is equally as important - This last tip goes without saying. I want to be as clear as possible: nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is worth more than your mental health stability. If you are struggling, please reach out to the many different services at the Student Wellness Centre so you can get the help you need. University is a fun but also an overwhelming experience, it’s important we take time to check-in on ourselves and those close to us to support one another. Like the previous tip, make sure to maintain your health first so you can perform your best at the other stuff, and sometimes that means reaching out for external support (that’s why the services are there in the first place!). I personally like to talk to friends and family to just get a mental reset from all of the stress, however, recognize that everyone is different and thus have different needs unique to them. Be sure to find what works best for you!

That’s it! I hope you learned something new from these tips, and if you already knew these, I hope it served as a good reminder of what you can do. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I wish you all good luck for the rest of the semester!

P.S: If you do implement these tips in any way, feel free to reach out to let me know how it goes! I would love to hear about your individual experiences :)

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