I have exams and a final assignment due in less than a week. The stress is starting to kick in. And I realise…. It’s 12:30pm… The only thing I’ve consumed today is Honey Roasted peanuts and a highly sweetened cup of tea. I may also still be wearing my pyjamas.
Exam Prep done totally WRONG.
No wonder I’m feeling sleepy. No wonder I can’t concentrate. I haven’t fed myself anything decent and my assignment is suffering for it.
Can anyone else relate?
WHY do we do this to ourselves?
I originally wrote a blog about coffee to post this weekend, and that’s still to come, but seeing as I have some beautiful friends who are going through exam stress with me I thought this would be fitting.
Surely we can brainstorm some healthy, productive ways to study, but I think it’s equally as important to highlight what I’m doing wrong, and make changes accordingly.
Truth talk. I am guilty of:
What you eat can have a massive impact on your energy levels. Eating nothing at all? That’s probably not smart… Aren’t Uni kids supposed to be smart?
No wonder I fatigue really easily when I’m studying. The same applies to every day activities and part-time or full-time work. Skipping meals is often an accident in my case, but it needs to change for more effective exam preparation.
Over-Eating (when I remember to)
I’ve just realised I haven’t eaten all day. What do I do? I grab anything that can be consumed in front of the computer or over a textbook. Peanuts for example! Some days its chocolate, soft drink, fruit, orange juice. It’s a whole combination of snack foods in meal portions, and they all amount to one thing… sugar! Eating the wrong food is just as bad as skipping meals.
Not drinking water (Yes Mum, I admit it!)
I don’t drink enough water at work, I don’t drink enough water post exercise, and I definitely do not drink enough water while studying. Water is something you don’t realise you need until you’re completely dehydrated and already suffering. My personal trainer used to tell me “if you’re thirsty girl, you’re already dehydrated”. So when I’m three hours into an assignment without food, water, a break, or clothes that haven’t been slept in, it’s pretty much guaranteed I’m screwed, and so is my assignment.
Candy Crush – I’m looking at you.
My study habits involve finding useless, weird shit to do for a significant amount of time, before getting cranky at myself for procrastinating, and finally convincing myself I must need a break because I can’t concentrate. I mean, what is that??
Oh yeah, It’s procrastination.
So look, I’m not trying to sound hypocritical, but I promise you, these little tips have helped me in the past. Although they don’t seem to have helped me out today (Yes, I’m still in my pyjamas), they can change the direction of the day from a waste, to mostly productive. And for me that’s pretty much a win!
Study Tip #1
Drink water, Snack appropriately: Your brain, your body, your focus, will all thank you for it, and so will your GPA when you are hydrated enough to edit that POS assignment you almost submitted…
Mixed Berry and Banana Protein Smoothie – An easy, healthy study snack!
Study Tip #2
Shower, Freshen up: If I’m really feeling stuck, lazy, or just generally done with all this university rubbish, nothing helps more than a nice warm shower and washing my hair. Plus it wakes you up enough to reengage your focus.
Study Tip #3
Give yourself time: Cramming, or leaving it too late to start an assignment is another way to guarantee uncontrollable sobbing and random bursts of anger and swearing. This might just be me… but don’t risk it, ok?
Study Tip #4
This beautiful little tip comes from my darling friend Courtney and the Instagram page she runs as an ACU ambassador in Canberra. Her instagram account is Courtney_acu… Screen shot provided!
Even though I’m not an ACU student I value the passion and morals ACU encourages in its students, and Courtney is definitely the best example of that. I’ve asked her for her thoughts regarding effective exam prep, and here’s what she had to say:
“One of the most important, and yet so easily forgotten, things that you can do for your stress-head-of-a-Uni-student self; is to reward yourself. Go for that walk, catch up with that friend, go and see that movie you’ve been dying to see (yes, I’m talking about Finding Dory). Even buy yourself a bunch of flowers; because you know what, you deserve it. Getting through an exam is so much easier when you have something to look forward to on the other side, and being a Uni student is damn hard. Don’t be afraid to be your own biggest fan and give yourself a pat on the back every now and again. I would suggest doing a little more than opening a Word document before you consider any of the above though…”
Hopefully by remembering the things to avoid, and practicing the easy-to-remember tips you’ll be on your way to more effective study habits!
Now, I better go take my own advice!