There’s Still Time! How to Turn Your Semester Around

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A little meditation goes a long way! (PHOTO BY EMILY TIBERIO/THE OBSERVER)

By KAYLA OGLE
Staff Writer
Published: April 29, 2015

It’s crunch time at Fordham at Lincoln Center; everything for the 2014-2015 year is coming to a close. This time can be stressful for many students with things like packing up your dorm/apartment, finishing papers or projects, studying and making sure you have time to see your friends before you all leave for the summer. Here are a few ways to combat this stress to make sure the end of the semester goes a little bit more smoothly, so you can start your summer relaxed and ready to enjoy the few months off from school.

Start doing a little packing everyday: No matter what, packing is stressful. Whether that moving from your dorm or apartment, trying to figure out how to pack things efficiently and with the least amount of stress can be challenging. But if you start packing a little bit every day, it’s not as bad! During the next few weeks, dedicate an hour to packing every day. Start with the small stuff that you don’t necessarily need anymore, and put it in a box or a pile where it won’t be in the way. Slowly, you’ll only be down to the things that are absolutely necessary, like clothes and toiletries, and suddenly the daunting task of packing is not nearly as bad!

Exercise and meditate: These things are tried and true stress relievers. Rachel Lamy, FCLC ‘16 says that she likes to run when she’s feeling stressed out. By running, you’re giving yourself time to think about the things that still need to get done, and you can come up with an appropriate plan of action to accomplish them. Exercise also releases endorphins to make yourself feel better. Giving yourself time to do a 20-minute run can change the way you view stress.

Meditation can also help with stress. One unconventional way to mediate is by doing the Viparita Karani pose, or legs on the wall pose. This yoga move is so easy anyone can do it, and you can even do it in bed. Lie flat on your back and place your legs as straight as you can on a wall so you’re at a 90 degree angle. Rest like this for 5-10 minutes. According to Active.com, this pose aids with acute stress, headaches, insomnia and stretches out the back of your hamstrings and neck. Since we’re all cramming for finals and hunched over books and laptops, taking the five minutes to relax your mind and stretch in this position will be beneficial for anyone.

Plan a fun weekend activity with your friends: Whether you’re graduating or just going home for the summer, it might be a little while until you see your friends again. You may feel the need to stay in your dorm and study, but you also want to make sure you have time to see your friends and do something fun! By planning activities like a night out or a potluck dinner, you can make sure you do something that is fun and stress free. You can also go for a picnic in Central Park. Sheep’s Meadow has great open spaces for relaxing –  plus soaking up some sun never hurt anyone (as long as you’re wearing sunscreen). No matter what you and your friends like to do to have fun, make sure you take time to see them during the last weeks of school.

Make a study group and meet with professors: “Collective pulling together of materials is great,” said Professor Irma Watkins-Owens, associate professor in the African and African American Studies department. “Students should plan time in the beginning of the semester to stagger things that are due at the end so it’s not as stressful. But if that doesn’t happen, peer review is a great option.” She also discusses the benefits of having other students proofread your work and peer review. You can benefit because it is helping you understand the material more, and you can benefit from the way your peers might see the subject. Finally, Watkins-Owens says that speaking to the professor is always a good option. “If you really have a problem go to us! We’re people too, and we want to help you!”

Give yourself down time: Our bodies are not machines that can endlessly run; eventually we run out of steam. Allow yourself some breaks, whether that be taking a nap, or do like Maya Van Peebles, FCLC ‘15, “I take myself out to the movies.” She said, “I have a $35 movie pass that allows me to see as many movies as I want, so instead of sitting at home watching Netflix, I go out.” By leaving your apartment, either going for a walk or grabbing some coffee, you are able to get out of the space that you’ve been doing work in for possibly hours at a time. This space let’s you clear your head and recharge before you go back to studying. Also, seriously make sure to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to memory loss, according to Healthline.com, so it does you no good if you’re cramming for an exam on only two hours of sleep.

These few things can hopefully make the last few weeks a little more enjoyable, instead of making you feel like you might collapse from the stress. Remember to take time for yourself and friends, treat your body well and ask for help if you really need it. The end of the semester is a cause for celebration, don’t let the stress make that any harder!