Hofstra’s campus is blooming. The library is packed. Blackboard notifications are rolling in. This can only mean one thing: finals week is near. As the end of the semester draws to a close and final exams quickly approach, students across the country prepare for the final metaphorical lap of the year. However, for some students, this sprint comes after a full marathon plagued by bad habits.

Tips to reduce stress:

1. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE — Say it with me “time management is key.” One more time for the people in the back, “time management is key.” admit it, we all succumb to procrastination. Whether it be prioritizing social obligations over school work or simply watching television, students put assignments and studying on the backburner until the last minute. Daunting mountains of work pile up and due dates that once seemed light years away are around  within reach. You pushed off a research paper until the night before (when you conveniently have a test the next morning at 8:00am). You did this last semester, and you swore it would never happen again. Yet, here you are in your room covered in highlighter ink and surrounded by caffeinated beverages. At this point, your only option is to drink some espresso and pull an all-nighter. Save yourself from this preventable trap. All it takes is a planner ($15 at the bookstore) and a bit of self-discipline (not sure if they sell this one at the bookstore.) In my experience, the best way to prepare is by organizing a calendar with time slots blocked off for studying, socializing and sleep.

2. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY — You can BS a paper, but you can’t BS your health. You don’t have to spend five hours at the gym everyday. I’m talking about the “little” things that aren’t as little as you think. For instance, sleeping eight hours a day. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development mandates that people ages 18 to 64 sleep for seven to nine hours. It varies based on the individual and several factors including overall health, short term health (eg. a cold) and environment (eg. stressed out in a college dorm.) Research suggests that stress can be directly linked to restless nights. So, how do you combat this? Manage the issue causing the stress (see previous tip.) Some people suggest other proven methods to de-stress, such as practicing yoga, breathing exercises or meditation. Take advantage of your school’s health and wellness resources such as the fitness center and counselling services.

3. COMMUNICATE — Professors are not emotionless robots. They are humans who were also college students at one time. They have been in our shoes and understand the ever growing pressures of the education system. If there is a genuine conflict between classes with due dates or exam schedules, inform them. Chances are that they will accommodate the situation, or help you organize and better manage it. Note: communicate early. Do not email a professor at 2:00 a.m. the morning of a test.

4. PUT IT INTO PERSPECTIVE — Sometimes there are unavoidable conflicts that you just let slip under the radar. Maybe there are three papers due tomorrow and you only have a few hours. In situations like this, as a last resort check your syllabus and weigh the options. For example, in one class a paper might be worth a lesser percentage of the final grade in comparison to the other class’s paper. Also, determine which class you can “afford” to lose points towards your final GPA.

It’s crunch time and you’re almost there. Just a few more weeks left before summer begins. Hopefully these tips will help you effortlessly succeed during these last few weeks.

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