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A foolproof guide to end-of-semester survival

Mira Sen, Staff Writer
December 6, 2012 • 2,413 views

Get ready, ladies and gents. There’s a storm coming. With less than one week of classes left, finals are just around the corner. Our bodies are about to be sent into survival mode. Since we are Oles – and therefore all perfect – “fighting” will almost always win out over “flight…ing.” Granted, the struggle between the two is intense. Inevitably, at some point in the next two weeks, we will all be within inches of giving up.

But fear not! There are ways to deal with the crushing weight of end-of-semester madness. I will detail for you a couple of my own favorite stress-relieving techniques. They have proven to be nearly 127 percent effective almost all of the time, so pay attention. I’ll add some disclaimers to the end of each section, as some of my methods have shown to run a little out of control on a select few individuals.

First and foremost, eat. Generally people can be grouped into two categories when it comes to stress-eating. For some, the panic has set up camp in the form of an ever-present nausea, making it impossible to even imagine digesting food. Sound like you? Make sure, then, that you force yourself to get your daily servings of fruit, vegetables, french fries and cake. Food is the energy source we run on; without it, you’ll only crash and burn faster.

In the second stress-eating group, we have those who overeat. My advice: succumb. Just eat. You want six egg and cheese English muffins from the Cage? Do it! If you are one of those lucky sons-of-a-nutcracker that still has 500 flex dollars left, use them! All of them! Get ice cream, lattes, grilled cheese, what have you. Don’t worry – we have all of interim to lose the extra pounds. And if you are going to Greece or Thailand during Interim, then you don’t get to be sad about gaining weight. You’re going to Greece. Or Thailand. Disclaimer: Please do not individually clean the Cage out of bread bowls. That weight gain may be irreversible, and also, other people like bread bowls, too.

Second, remember to take a break every now and then. Don’t get me wrong – spending 39 hours in the reference room every day sounds just . . . lovely. I wish I could do that all of the time. But sometimes the hermit needs to crawl out of the hole lest he or she go completely insane. I understand that it may be hard to fully comprehend the idea of “taking a break.” Sometimes it seems like there simply is not enough time. But you know what? Realistically, you do have enough time.

A 20-minute breather is usually all that is necessary. If you are working for eight hours straight, I will bet you all of my money that at some point, you spend about 20 minutes just staring at a page in a sleep-deprived stupor, trying to make sense of words that are slowly morphing from English to Elvish. There are so many more enjoyable things you could be doing during that 20 minutes. Take a nap, watch your favorite TV show, go for a run. (I find a short little walk outside to be delightfully calming and refreshing.)

Do you know that we have more than 2,000 lounge chairs and couches on campus? I’m not actually sure if that’s true, but it sounds right. Those chairs are there for us to put our feet up and lay back for a second. Naps really do not even have to consist of actual sleep. I have found that simply closing my eyes for 10 minutes at a time does wonders for my energy and concentration. In regards to TV watching, Season 7 of “How I Met Your Mother” is now on Netflix. And this new season of “30 Rock” is pretty funny, too. Disclaimer: A 20-minute break for every four minutes of work is discouraged. Try not to convince yourself that you need more breaks than absolutely necessary.

This may not be much to go on, but I believe that if you abide by these tips and get an acceptable amount of sleep every night, you will be able to pull through finals without turning into a drooling, eye-twitching maniac. Best of luck.

 

senm@stolaf.edu

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