University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and neighboring schools are back in session for the fall and it’s the time of year when we organize, prioritize, and get ready for the upcoming season. Shopping for school supplies has always been the most fun part of heading back for the academic year and the enthusiasm hardly waned even as I went through four years of college. Having an organized desk and fresh supplies provides additional motivation to jump right into school, or work, or both, which may have seemed less enticing otherwise.
So when looking for the tools of your trade, don’t hesitate to check the handmade site Etsy. There is a great deal of attractive and useful objects for the desk in your apartment. These are some of my personal favorites:
Utensil organizer – This maple utensil holder is beautifully simple and incredibly useful. Keep all your best writing utensils handy and organized.
Docking station – This handmade wooden docking station is spectacularly designed to hold a myriad of personal items, including your phone while it charges.
Fancy pencils – A rainbow of colors to entertain you while you jot down notes and work those hard math problems.
A lovely planner – Keep track of all your homework, classes, and appointments in a marbled cover planner.
Hanging shelf– Hang this reclaimed wood shelf on the wall behind your desk for additional items you want to keep within reaching distance.
It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – finals time! Wait, it’s not everybody’s favorite time of year?…Ok, so it’s more like the time of year in which you realize you put that final project off for way too long and it’s due in a week’s time. Coming from someone who’s been there, done that, I can say you will survive. So remember there’s no need to push yourself beyond the point of exhaustion. When you find yourself panicking and worrying, try one of these little methods of relaxation.
Play with a dog! It’s amazing what animals can do to improve your mood and well-being. This is why many hospitals have groups with service animals visit those who are suffering from long-term illness. If you have a dog, set aside breaks for yourself during studying and working to take your pup outside for 10-15 minutes at a time. Not only does the dog help you relax and lower stress levels, but the sunshine and fresh air will help too. If you don’t have a dog, go find someone who does!
Schedule an hour for coffee with a friend. Set aside an hour of your valuable time to do something that is truly equally as valuable as studying. The hour long break will give you a reprieve from the constant wracking of your brain. Relax, enjoy a tasty drink (I don’t recommend alcohol because that can be a slippery slope – before you know it you’ll be next on the Karaoke list), and forget about finals for an hour. When the hour is up, you should feel ready to get your nose back to the grindstone.
Do something that makes you laugh! Laughter truly is incredible medicine and is proven to lower stress levels. Watch an episode of your favorite comedy, catch up on a web comic you love, or my personal favorite – watch ridiculous cat videos on youtube.
Pay attention to school sponsored events around exam time. Many colleges will have programs which help students to de-stress during this time of the year. Take advantage of those!
Good luck on your exams!
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College can be one of the most liberating, enjoyable experiences of your life. It is generally the first opportunity one is given to truly be the master of one’s own life’s path. Having this authority is empowering, however comes with a great deal of weight. There are many big decisions to be made and responsibilities to assume as a college student. Chances are, your parents are no longer checking to make sure you stick to your path and follow through on all of your assignments. When adjusting to the college lifestyle, or when experiencing the strains of the your academic workload, it is key to understand how you can manage stress. Otherwise it can have detrimental physical and emotional side effects.
The attitude you adopt in everyday life can make a big difference in your level of stress. For example, if you have a difficult assignment due soon, instead of thinking about how hard it will be or how you don’t think you can handle it, remember that you’ve made it through years of school and various difficulties before in your life and you have the strength to make another stride. Remember, those who we consider successful have all met difficulties (and have also failed at times, too!)
Keeping your academics organized will help eliminate stress later. Maintain an up-to-date calendar with your assignments and due dates, as well as other goals and when they should be met. A daily to-do list or set of goals is a good way to stay on track every day and keep up with what needs to be done. Clutter can also contribute to stress, so a clean, calm environment is always best.
Use de-stressing activities to cool down and recenter yourself. If you are feeling worn out, try a power nap. Power naps can help you feel more alert and ready to be productive. Exercise is a great way to relieve excess stress and clear your mind. Try yoga, a run, or your favorite type of exercise for at least 20 minutes every day.
For additional information on identifying stressors and alleviating their effects, use University of Florida’s set of great resources on school stress here.
(photo credit: http://liberalartssociety.tumblr.com/)