The sun is finally out, blinding us till late afternoons, the winter chill will soon be replaced by a warm breath of spring, and on top of that there is only TWO DAYS of term left.
And also for me, as well as most students as I can imagine – ONE untouched deadline.
If someone had told me, the cheerful 18-year-old high school student with no care in the world, how much stress, anxiety and negative impact on my mental health and wellbeing can a 2,000 word essay have, I would have burst out laughing. Naturally, living your life by the ‘yolo’ mantra is not the greatest option, but having a mental breakdown over an assignment? And then, obviously, I came to University.
Now I’m lying in bed, eyes open wide from overwhelming fear, heart pounding and thoughts on how much more there is to do, that I don’t know how to approach. Homesickness and exhaustion from previous all-nighters that had to be pulled are all crashing you down, turning your brain into baby food. In that situation, how do you stand up straight and push yourself once again?
Know when to press ‘snooze’
Unless the deadline is in less than 24 hours and you have not started, don’t see napping as a treat achievable only after you have finished. If you still can, give yourself a proper, 8 hour recuperation before you keep going. Marks will be deducted for the lack of sleep so GET SOME REST!
Domino’s does not equal nutrition
Eating healthy is probably the last thing on your mind when trying to survive another night plastered to the laptop screen, but your body runs on fuel, which is not a diet that consists of Mars bars and vile vending machine coffee. Buy kilograms of fruit and veggies from the market a week before the whole mayhem begins and cook some hearty, filling meals – cooking can be therapeutic, and also if you do it in bulk and freeze a few portions, your brain food will take quicker to prepare than a pizza guy can even say ‘2 large pepperonis with stuffed crust’. EATING WELL will also give you some bonus points, instead of bonus kilograms, bloating and overall sluggishness that is not essay-writing friendly.
Run towards the stars
Quite literally, chuck on some trainers and sprint out of the library, even if just for a 15-minute jog along the river. It will make you feel awake, refreshed and help prevent panic attacks that are more likely to occur if you have been sitting in your stuffy room, staring at a blank page. EXERCISE is more important that you think when wanting to succeed – take breaks and use them to move your body and pump that weary brain with some endorphins, rather than depressive thoughts on a terrifying vision that is late submission.
This too shall pass
Probably the most important, yet hardest tip to actually put into practice – LETTING GO. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean you should give up, as brave people going after a degree don’t simply give up. But try putting this horrible piece of coursework into a larger perspective – in ten years time, who is going to remember it? Clear your mind, fill your belly and breathe. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just a few more days and you will be free again.
At least for a while 😉