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COLUMN: How to put the final three weeks into perspective

By Briana Bowen
On April 14, 2014

Over the weekend, life decided it had a moral responsibility to add a dash of hot sauce to jazz up the already spicy stew that is my last three weeks of college. Therefore, I walked out of the Fieldhouse at 12:04 a.m. Friday night with a mild concussion sustained in the most pathetically uninteresting manner possible.

Fortunately, the symptoms of a mild concussion are just the inability to communicate effectively, difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus and emotional instability — read: bursting into tears upon seeing a cereal box. I mean, thank heavens the symptoms aren’t anything that could be highly problematic for finishing the last three weeks of your college education.

But hey, sometimes it takes a smack to the head to restore perspective to the world. So for all you Aggies with just three weeks standing between you and the blissful freedom of summer, take to heart some totally sage concussed wisdom for this final stretch in the marathon.

1. Problems are a matter of perspective.

Of the things you’re stressed about right now, which are you still going to care about a year from now? Funny how that list shrinks, isn’t it? Problems are always perceived in relation to other problems: When the biggest thing you’re worried about is doing well in school, then passing chemistry and registering for classes seems like a big deal. If your biggest worry becomes a family member or a health problem, it’s amazing how quickly grades shrink in importance. Just keep things in perspective, and remember that a lot of the end-of-semester stress fest is composed of pretty fleeting stuff.

2. Sleep and eat.

It’s almost a collegiate merit badge to be able to brag that you haven’t slept in 40 hours and that you’re running purely on the unholy combination of Dr Pepper and Clif Bars. Seriously, put bragging rights aside and take the time to take care of yourself during the dead week/finals week sprint. It won’t be a merit badge if you sleep through your four alarms and miss your calculus final, or if you can’t remember a thing about the French Revolution because your brain has started to digest itself. Make your mom proud and eat, like, three whole vegetables this week amidst your studying.

3. Make a study plan.

Some people are time organization freaks; others are violently allergic to schedules. Wherever you stand, make some kind of an outline during these final weeks that will help you visualize everything you need to do and how much time you have to do it. Having a basic plan will help you hedge against nasty surprises, like realizing you forgot about a term paper until the night before it’s due. It’ll also help you avoid last-minute cramming and pulling more all-nighters than are absolutely necessary.

4. Laughter is the antidote to stress.

By the glorious power vested in me as an Aggie senior, I hereby prescribe that you watch three cat videos on YouTube for every four hours you spend studying. Honestly, when stress reaches a peak like it does at the end of the semester, the best thing you can do is give yourself a positive outlet. Laughing over something ridiculous — whether it be your roommate’s valiant efforts to finish an entire Slurpee in one gulp or a quick scroll through @nappingaggies on Instagram — can act as a marvelous cathartic outlet for pent-up stress that will help you cross the semester finish line like a champ.

Briana is a political science major in her last semester at USU. She is an avid road cyclist and a 2013 Truman Scholar. Proudest accomplishment: True Aggie. Reach Briana at b.bowen@aggiemail.usu.edu.


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