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How to survive the Exams Period

As a student, I know that stress is normal during the exams period, whole day just studying, not many sleep hours, small snacks and less social contact than usuall. But why not make this period a little easier for us with some tips and recoomendations that surely will help you to not to go crazy during these weeks?

Study desk of a student
Study desk of a student© Nathaly

When I started university I had freshly arrived from long Holidays back at my home country. Excited about starting a new stage in my life, University. At movies everything seemed so easy but in real life; I just remember seeing my older brother stressed out, studying overnights and looking tired the whole time, so I didn’t know what to expect.
Anyways I thought that in my case it would be different, that no matter what I would be able to manage to go through it without any kind of stress. Little did I know…

After my first exams period I practically ended up traumatized. I was so exhausted, just wanting to stay in bed for days and not hearing of anyone. I think I underestimate how hard it would be, and all the hours without sleep confirmed that. The experience marked my studies and after that I was so ready to not to go through that again.

I took the time to analyze what things I did well and what I would not repeat, and learned from the experience, so here are my tips to make these weeks a little easier:

Make a Schedule!

Something I learned in Germany is that preparation and planning can really save you from unnecessary stressful situations. Order priorities, what you want to reach and how. A schedule of your daily life, with the activities you’re used to do and which ones you want to add, the extra hours to spend studying or writing final projects. At the end of the day, I review the things you planned and reached to do and you’ll have a satisfaction feeling of being responsible with your time. I usually use Good Notes but there’s many apps online where you can find free daily planners, like Notability, or your normal Calendar or even paper!

Week planer on a mobile phone on a table
Week planer on a mobile phone on a table© Nathaly

Don’t eat the first thing you see in the fridge…

In exams periods a lot of us tend to just eat whatever we find in the kitchen, or even some just skip meals. It do happens that you’re too tired to cook or you just feel you don’t have enough time, but if we want out body to “absorb” all the information, we’ll also need a proper alimentation so our body feels fit to performe it’s 100%. .

My advice for the cooking lovers: plan your meals, maybe not cooking XXL Luxus dinners that may take hours,’cause after that we may have the risk of feeling too full, tired and just wanting to lay and take a nap. Instead make a smart supermarket List with “must have” ingredients. There’s lots of supermarket apps where you can find the food prices, promotions and even some quick recipes!

And for those who don’t get along so well with the kitchen: Mensa! I think most German universities have a Mensa near it, the prices are affordable for us students. You can even take a Tupperware and get something for later and warm it up at home, that saved me and my friends several times!

An extra tip is the “Studenten Futter” Snacks. You can find them in almost every supermarket, it’s a small package of a mix of walnuts and almonds. Healthy and practical.

Having fun is also allowed!

By having fun, I don’t mean doing an “After” study, there’s also other activities which are not going to leave you completely tired at the next day; such as Sports (even taking a walk with friends), going to the gym, watching a movie or a series you like, hearing some music or meeting friends to hang out or study together, is two in one, being productive and also having fun by having your friends near you..

Don’t skip your sleep hours

It is generally known that if the body does not have enough hours of sleep, it’s performance will be affected, it will be more difficult for us to focus or react quickly and, above all, our mood will be more vulnerable. It can happen that you study until late nights or even during the whole night but don’t forget you’ll need to recover the amount of hours you didn’t sleep . Don’t forget that for this week we’re gonna need our body 100% fit and that’s gonna help our body recover from all the effort made. 

A flower on the leg of a female student
A flower on the leg of a female student© Nathaly

Last but not least, take a break if you need it and be nice to yourself

So here’s the part I forgot to take on count at the beginning of my studies and it’s how important taking a Pause is. Sometimes there’s a point where you think you need to stop and even your body tells you to stop but you want to continue because you think you really don’t need it, or that you’ll waste time. But that’s not how it works.
In my personal experience I had to learn it the hard way. I remember going to my university campus at 2 am in the night because I couldn’t focus anymore, my body was stopping me automatically and I was frustrated and really close to having a mental breakdown. Luckily I managed to calm down after one hour taking a walk. That experience helped me realize how important my mental health was, to keep on.

Take it easy, of course we need a pause, we’re not machines that can work without stopping. And with it I don’t mean “Feierabend” and leave everything to your luck, but taking a moment where you can’t take a deep breath, just let your body recover or all the effort you made during the day.
Do some stretching, take a walk, just blank your mind, let your body recover from all the effort made during the day and then charge your body battery to keep on doing your best!

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