BY TANAKA SHUMBA AND MEGHAN CHISHOLM
Exam season is finally upon us. In a few weeks we’ll all be writing our final exams before heading home for the holidays. Before you take your exams, there are a few things you need to know.
Yes, exams are important – but remember that they don’t assess what makes each of us exceptional and unique.
The results from the exams you’re about to take will measure a lot of things coursework-related, but your performance on the exam may also depend on how you’re feeling on the day you write each exam.
Unfortunately, these exams don’t show your personal and interpersonal improvement.
An exam can’t tell you how you brighten up the days of all those people you deeply care about. Most people marking exams don’t know that you love to sing, you’re good at drawing, you’re a remarkable athlete or a wonderful tutor for others. They haven’t seen the way that some of you can dance gracefully or speak confidently in front of large crowds. They don’t know that you’re always there for your friends and family. They don’t know that you’re caring, thoughtful, give your all and do your best every single day.
They don’t know all these extraordinary attributes that make you who you are because these characteristics are not measured or assessed in your final exams.
They don’t tell you how incredible you truly are. But that doesn’t mean that you should forget it.
Having reminded you of this, be prepared to do your best on these exams and remember that there is no one way to ‘examine’ every important aspect that makes you, YOU.
If you feel stressed or overwhelmed as you dive into the end of the semester, remember Stay Connected Peer Support workers understand – we’ve been there.
Drop by to chat Monday through Thursday for free confidential Peer Support, 4-6pm in the Wellness Room of the SUB.
Peer Support Worker
Seven Tips for Self-Care During Exam Period
#1. Keep up with your normal self-care routine
When it comes to self-care, “know thyself” is key. Many of us have some kind of self-care routine that works, at least most of the time. But, it’s easy to let self-care slide when exams are coming up and term papers are due.
You might think you’re wasting valuable study time by doing something for yourself. But now you need self-care more than ever – and you’ll feel better all-around for it.
Stay hydrated. It can be easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day during exam period, especially if we’re not so good at it in the first place. Try taking a reusable water bottle with you to campus every day and sip on it while you work. Your brain and body will thank you!
Nourish your body. Eating well nourishes your body and your mind! Getting proper nutrients will help your brain function effectively and will keep you fully satisfied so that you aren’t distracted by a growling stomach while studying or aren’t nursing a stomach ache from too many trips to the vending machine. Do your best to incorporate balanced meals and healthy snacks into your day.
Get enough sleep. It’s that time of year again where it seems like your peers are competing on who can get by on the least amount of sleep for the final push of the year. But what your mind really needs for adequate functioning is rest, and all-nighters are one of the biggest mistakes you can make! Sleep is critical for memory consolidation. If you skip on sleep, you’re also creating a barrier to your learning.
#2. Ask for help
With the due dates, exams, stress and homesickness that can come with this time of year, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You are not alone in this. And supports are available to you.
Whether it be visiting a professor in office hours, getting writing tips from the Writing Centre or seeking peer support, there are people and services on campus that can give you the support you deserve.
#3. Take regular breaks that are meaningful and intentional
Breaks are good – quality breaks are best. Take the time you set aside between studying to focus on re-energizing. Get some fresh air, move your body, have a healthy snack, meditate, or get some much-needed human interaction, whether in person or over the phone.
#4. Be SMART with your goals
It’s great to set goals for yourself, and the SMART method is the optimal way to do that. When setting a goal, ensure it meets these five criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
#5. Take it one task at a time
Break down your goals into small, manageable chunks – and take them one at a time. We often think that by multitasking, we’re better off, but this can’t be further from the truth. To really be effective, take it one thing at a time, and remove distractions.
#6. Know the end is in sight
Exams may be looming over you, but they’ll be out of the way before you know it. Practice visualization of you completing that last exam and walking out of the room happy that you’re done. This can be motivating to get you through the last chunk of studying ahead of you.
#7. Be kind to yourself
At the end of the day, self-care is all about self-compassion. During stressful times, try to remember the bigger picture – grades aren’t everything. Practice positive self-talk with affirmations: “I am strong” and “I am enough.” Take time for yourself each day.
Peer Support Worker