It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? The Christmas lights on Grafton Street, hot chocolate with friends and trying to figure out what to get for your secret Santa. But yet, there seems to be something stopping you from enjoying it to its fullest – exams. We’ve all been there, sitting in a cold exam hall on a dark December evening, trying to write out that five page essay as quickly as possible, or remember that one equation buried in the lecture notes you only half paid attention to. Festive.
Exams are one of those unavoidable parts of college, and even though you know they’re coming from a mile away, they still have a way of sneaking up on you. Even this year, in what probably feels like the longest semester ever, exams seem to appear out of nowhere.
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, exam season is even more stressful. I’ve never quite gotten the hang of being happy with a slightly lower grade, that will still let me progress in my course and won’t stop me from finding a job later; there’s always that nagging feeling in my mind telling me that I should be doing better, aiming higher or studying even more for the sake of a few extra percent.
This year has of course changed everything, but for me anyways, one thing hasn’t changed: exam stress, which is as present as ever. From having most lectures online, not interacting with lecturers as much and trying to motivate myself to study while everything else in the world seems so chaotic – this exam season is sure to be difficult.
While I’m no expert, I have found a few things that help me to get through the toughest part of the semester.
- Go back to basics. Focus on your sleep schedule, eat well, talk to your friends, get out for some fresh air. An extra hour of sleep will help you so much more than an extra hour of cramming at 2 am.
- Treat yourself and enjoy the holiday spirit. It can be hard to get in the mood to celebrate when you have exams on your mind, but try to take some time out and grab a hot chocolate with your friend, or watch the Christmas episode of some sitcom. It will help you relax and remind you of what you have to look forward to after the exams are over.
- Try to get organised. It’s easy to overwhelm yourself by thinking about all the different exams and assignments coming up, so try to organise your work. Think about what needs to be done first and prioritise that before getting on to work for assignments due in a few weeks time.
- Remember that things are different, and it’s ok to find things difficult. This semester has not been what any of us want from our college experience, both socially and academically, so be kind to yourself, and know that you will do the best you can in these crazy circumstances.
- As always, don’t be afraid to talk to someone if you’re struggling, or just need to rant to let off some steam. Talk to your friends, your family, or talk to us. We’re open every night of term, both online at niteline.ie and on the phone at 1800 793 793.
Alex – NiteLine Head of Publicity