Ask Anna: Don’t panic

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Anna Lowenthal, Editor-in-Chief

 

Q: Dear Anna, I’m freaking out about these last few weeks of the semester. What do I do to make it through alive?

A: It seems like every semester, we come back from Thanksgiving break or spring break to a hellfire at school, and start our break-neck sprint to the finish line of the semester trying to get everything done before time’s up or we topple over.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everything and let yourself fall into a slump of non-motivation and the feeling of impending doom. But you don’t have to.

Before you have a mental breakdown (which, by the way, that’s completely understandable and acceptable), take a moment to think about everything you have to do. Ok, so that might sound counter-intuitive, but if you write a list of all of your upcoming projects, presentations, essays and exams, you’ll start to get the feel of what’ll actually be in store for you for the next few weeks. Write it all down in your calendar, phone or daily planner. By making a visual representation, you’ll have a better concept of what needs to immediately be done and what you’ll have to do to prepare for the future.

Once you’ve got your priorities set and your timetable managed, get yourself in check. The most important thing you can do for the rest of the semester is to take care of you. If you bomb your final because you got sick from surviving off packs of Ramen and coffee and not sleeping for four days, you kind of did it to yourself.

Just as you’re taking preemptive steps to block out your schedule and make time for your studies, you need to take extra good care of yourself during these next few weeks. Stress and exhaustion have a significant effect on your physical, mental and emotional help. Bottom line? Eat your fruits and vegetables…get your beauty sleep…don’t forget to shower…you know the drill. Take some advice from your mom – she’s pretty much dead on.

On top of taking good care of your body, you’ve also got to be sure to take extra special care of your soul. This is bound to be a stressful time for everybody, and it’s not uncommon to want to hide in a hole until the semester ends and resurface come May 1. When the going gets tough, don’t forget to reach out to those around you. Friends, family, IWU counseling services, faculty and advisors are literally just a phone call or an office visit away, and you’re sure to feel better after talking to someone who understands your struggle and can help you get through it.

Remember, you’re working yourself really hard right now. If you need to go on a shopping spree, spend the night on the dance floor or simply spend the afternoon in your sweats catching up on your favorite show, you’re more than entitled to do so. In fact, you probably need a little “you” time more than ever right now.

While we all know it’s definitely not going to be “smooth” sailing for the rest of the semester, you can definitely make your ride a little less rocky by planning ahead and taking care of the most important thing in your life – you.