EducationSkills

The stress levels are high and the amount of time to study for tests and get the last assignments of the semester finished are extremely low. Many of you are probably pulling all-nighters and downing cup after cup of coffee just to stay awake. It’s going to feel like a long last couple of weeks before we’re officially finished with this semester, but once we get through our last days of classes, we can take our finals and go home.

But getting through these tough times are easier said than done. This is why I’m here to help you rock finals week. The better you do on your exams, the better you’ll feel about dedicating so much of your time to study.

Here are some of the things that I like to do to prepare for Finals week:

  • Take naps – a well-rested brain is a higher performing one. While all-nighters can be beneficial to you, you can’t focus on much of anything if you didn’t get much sleep. It’s also harder to retain the information you learned.
  • Stay focused – I know you don’t need anyone to tell you this, but I know how easy it is to get distracted. One minute you’re practicing math problems and the next you’re on Facebook. If you find yourself losing focus, maybe try new methods of studying or if you’ve been studying for one test for hours, maybe try studying for another one. You don’t have to spend hours doing this but make sure you do spend a few hours focused. Remove all of the distractions if necessary or study in a quiet place like the library.
  • Form study groups – Sometimes it helps having other people in your class around when you’re studying so if you need help you don’t have to go too far to get it.
  • Listen to classical music – There are a lot of studies that say that classical music helps you retain more information and others that say it doesn’t really help with anything, but I personally listen to classical music when I’m studying to a.) Block out distracting noise and b.) To help lower my stress levels. If you’ve never listened to classical music while studying, please give it a try. I recommend making a classical music station on Pandora.

Also, here are some things to do before you take your finals:

  • Eat a balanced breakfast – This is a tip for the day of your exams. If you can, try to have a nice, big meal for breakfast. It’s not good to start your day off with an empty stomach, especially before an exam.
  • Use the bathroom – I know this might seem like common sense, but some people just want to get their finals over and done with that they forget to go to the bathroom, even if they don’t think they have to go at the moment.
  • Got a cold? – Bring cough drops and tissues. You never know when you might need them.
  • Wear comfortable clothes – No need to get dressed up to take a test. Break out the sweats and the comfy shirts with the long sleeves. Don’t bother brushing your hair or really doing anything to fix your appearance. It’s final week! You have a right to be as casual as you want to be.
  • Believe in yourself – You’re only going to do as good as you think you’re going to do so think good thoughts and try your best to stay positive.
  • It’s only a test – I don’t like not getting good grades on my finals, but I always remind myself that it’s just an exam and it’s not a reflection of my intelligence.

Finals week is really stressful and it can seem like it’ll never end, but it will. Just remember to treat yourself well during this time. Eat three (healthy) meals. Get a good amount of sleep. And stay positive. Study as much as you can and just do the best that you can.  Soon this will all be behind us and next semester will be a clean slate.

Good luck everyone! Rock those finals!

Image: Ryan McGilchrist

CultureHealth

“Outdated,” “meaningless,” and “bland” are the three words my friend used when I asked him to describe his thoughts on classical music. I grew up listening to Debussy, Mozart, and Beethoven, but for many people, classical music serves no benefits. Contrary to many beliefs, classical tunes have actually proven to improve mental health and reduce stress. Maybe it’s time to reconsider those playlist choices.

Improves Sleep Quality

A study was done in 2008 to manifest the positive effects classical music has on students who have trouble sleeping. From the 94 students who participated, they were each divided into groups of three (group 1, 2, and 3). Group 1  listened to 45 minutes of classical music (or relaxing music) while Group 2 listened to an audio book and Group 3 was the control group, meaning they had no change in their usual routine before bed. The outcome resulted in an improved sleep quality in Group 1. Essentially, if you are a student suffering from insomnia or trouble falling asleep, try tuning into some relaxing tunes instead of techno or pop before going to bed. You may definitely find some developments.

Increase Intelligence

Listening to classical music actually makes you smarter. Cool, huh? In 1993, studies showed a correlation between listening to classical music and increased IQ levels. The outcome? American capitalism taking advantage, of course. This is spurred the release of products like baby Mozart and CD’s intended for expecting women to listen to on speaker for the sake of the baby’s brain development and health. Aside from this, consider listening to some classical music while studying – it may help retain information!

Emotional Affect

This is an interesting one and I don’t know how most of us feel about this but classical music makes you more emotional. Knowing me, this is probably a key reason to not listen to classical music as my emotional capacity is at an all-time high. But in 2001, there was a study in Southern Methodist University that showed that listening to classical music heightens emotions. This is linked to being more expressive and demonstrative with the things that they said and did.

Surgery Recovery

If you have gone through surgery, you know that the recovery is a major component in the success of the surgery. It is absolutely imperative that you remain relaxed and stress-free.  Listening to classical music after surgery can actually “help tune out pain.” Studies have demonstrated that classical music can help reduce the amount of opiates given to patients! Other studies have shown this it can relieve chronic pain. It seems meds may not be the only solution to pain!

Blood Pressure

If you are dealing with high blood pressure or know someone that is, fill them in on this info: classical music can help lower blood pressure as it was studied in the University of San Diego. After 30 minutes of listening, pregnant women also displayed lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Classical music can maybe even help you steer away from those meds with time.

Classical music has been incredibly underrated in the past years as pop, hip-hop, techno, and other genres have emerged in the music industry. However, when it comes to health, maybe it’s worth a try to pop in that old cassette. You may find yourself surprised – the tunes are magical!

Image: Alice Carrier