College. In between all the fun times, it can be extremely stressful. Freshman year, I was constantly finding myself feeling stressed and exhausted as exams, group projects, and assignments loomed over my head. Now, I get at least eight hours of sleep all semester long due to my killer organization.
I don’t know about your schools, but at Cornell University midterms and projects are not one week of the semester. They are scattered throughout and can happen two or three times in each class. This means, that about a month into the semester exams are constant. With this constant need to study, I have mastered the way to schedule my life and keep it balanced.
Always look a month ahead.
If you know exams are coming, you can work around your social schedule to do it all. Right now, I am studying for two exams two weeks away. This seems early, but it really isn’t. Next weekend, I have three big events for my sorority, and I will be able to attend them all if I start studying now. In my planner, I like to use a bright colored pen for all major exams and deadlines and a different bright color for social events. This is a great way to make sure nothing sneaks up on me and that I get to live college life to the fullest!
Find your perfect study spot.
It might be in your room, it might be at the library. There is no one place that works best for everyone, so find the right place for you. I have personally found that I work well in my room for written assignments, but not for math based assignments. For those, I need to be in the library. When I see which assignments I need to do, I quickly plan my library-study and home-study hours accordingly. This makes it so I can efficiently complete all assignment and not waste time being distracted
Plan out study meals for busy weeks.
Forgetting to eat is detrimental to your energy levels and will stress you out more, so develop a meal plan for yourself. I worked out my schedule to be as follows:
- Monday: Lunch on campus | Dinner in class
- Tuesday: Pack a sandwich | Dinner at the Tri Delta House
- Wednesday: Lunch at home | Dinner at home
- Thursday: Lunch on campus | Dinner at home
- Friday: Lunch at home | Dinner out
- Saturday & Sunday: Eat out or at home
This schedule seems extremely basic, but knowing when I need to pack a lunch, or prep a dinner, is extremely helpful. It makes it so that I am not wondering what I will eat, or forgetting all together. Scheduling is also a great way to create a budget for yourself! Once I made this schedule, I have had a better idea of how much money I will spend on food each week.
Treat yo’ self.
Even if you have exams and meetings all week, take an hour after each one to relax. For me that means wearing a face mask and watching Pretty Little Liars, but find what relaxes you and do it. You need time to unwind in between stressful assignments, so take the time for you.
Make practice quizzes for yourself.
I have so many friends that say they never feel ready for an exam. I understand where they are coming from; it is hard to know when you can stop studying and feel ready. My number one trick to feeling ready is making outlines of all the course material topics and then filling it in. I simply write out each major category the class went over, and leave blanks of the specific concepts to write in and explain. If I am able to fill it in, I know I am ready to go. This is also a great way to review right before going into the test. If you print out an extra quiz and do it right before you go in, you have all the concepts freshly in your mind!
College life can be stressful, but it can also be a lot of fun! If you follow these tips, you will have more time to enjoy to yourself and less time stressing out. Life in general is all about balance, so figuring out how to balance your life now will be helpful. If you can find the balance now, it will only be that much easier when you enter the big-bad-real world as an adult. Can you say work life balance? I will definitely be needing one of those.
What are your tips to staying stress free in college exam season?
I think Annie said it best: You are never fully dressed without a smile. Born and raised in the Midwest, I always felt like there was more out there – more to make me smile and more to learn. Three years ago, I made the move to Upstate New York where I am currently a Junior majoring in Hospitality Management. On an average day, you will probably find me chatting up my Tri Delta sisters and raving about my latest obsessions. My obsessions include, but are not limited to: beaches, shoes, Kate Spade, glitter, traveling, Taylor Swift, chai lattes, craft projects and home décor. I am a serial optimist and always want my mood to be reflected by my style, which I am constantly posting on my blog and my Instagram!