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Opinion

As end of year approaches, students urged to not shut down

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April 25, 2013

It is clear that the end of the semester is in full swing once again. Some students are rushing to finish papers or presentations and are fervently studying for exams.

However, there are others who have already entered “summer mode.” If you are one of the students whose brain is in the process of shutting down, this message is for you.

Every college student knows that the last few weeks of spring semester are the most difficult weeks of the academic year. Professors are assigning a variety of final projects and papers, or are scheduling major exams. It feels like the mountain of work is a million miles high and getting bigger by the second.

Instead of procrastinating, crumbling in the face of adversity and admitting defeat, rise to the challenge and finish the academic year strong. The main thing to remember is this: you are not alone. Every student on campus is going through the same stressful period that you are. Here are some tips to help you relieve your stress and keep your situation in perspective.

Before you begin tackling your end-of-the-year tasks, use your friends as a resource. Talking about the assignments you have to complete, the exams you have to study for, and the goals you want to achieve with the people around you is a key first step in the process. These people will be there to motivate you when you feel overwhelmed and will push you to do your best no matter what. However, they will not be able to do these things unless you talk with them beforehand.

Take breaks as often as you need them. If you are working and you feel frustrated or are hitting a wall, take a break. Get your body moving by walking, running or participating in any other activity that you enjoy. Do whatever it takes to get the blood in your brain flowing again so you can come back to your work feeling refreshed.

Eat healthy, nutritious and fresh foods instead of junk food. These types of food will give you more energy and an increased level of focus so you will be able to work for longer periods of time without getting tired. It is OK to snack a little bit, but if your diet consists primarily of junk food, it will be more difficult for you to complete your work in a quality manner because you will feel tired and lethargic.

Make sure you sleep. While all of us have undoubtedly pulled an all-nighter or two, your body will be worn out if you make this a consistent habit, especially during such a stressful period. If you get little to no sleep one night, not only will it affect your body the next day, but it will also affect your body for the duration of that week. Sleep is critical to your academic success.

Finally, make a commitment to your coursework. At the end of the year, there are always an endless number of things that can distract you if you allow them to. Friends are having end of the year parties, people are making plans for the summer and you are willing to do virtually anything to procrastinate.

Do not do this to yourself. Yes, the work will be difficult, and homework or studying is probably not the first on your “list of most enjoyable things.” However, the hard work you put in now will pay off in the long run.

The end of the academic year is always rough, but using these tips can make it slightly more bearable. Hang in there, and do not give up. The effort you put forth in the present will have a positive impact on your future.

Morgan Stippel is a political science major and a professional writing minor. When she graduates from UW-River Falls, she wants to become a state prosecutor and specialize in domestic violence cases.