CollegeWellness

Students have begun their second semester, preparing themselves for the ever-impending workload that each semester brings. Sometimes students tend to overthink their abilities and schedules, and overwork themselves to their breaking point. Stress relievers vary by person – one person might enjoy taking a nap, playing video games, or working out, while another person likes going for a walk, or just spending a night with friends and away from homework. One less commonly known stress reliever is relaxing with puppies, and some colleges are beginning to offer a day during the semester (usually towards the end when all the work piles up) where they bring puppies to campus to help destress their students. To encourage and help this movement, Uber is teaming up with local animal shelters in certain cities to bring you puppies!

You heard that right. #UberPUPPIES. For $20-30, puppies are brought to your door for 15 minutes so you can play with them. Along with this convenient set up, if you end up falling in love with the puppy on the spot, the drivers bring adoption sheets so you can adopt the pet right then and there (check with your college’s policy on pets before you make that final decision though). #UberPUPPIES is now available in several cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, D.C., Cleveland, Dallas, and Indianapolis. However, according to News for Shoppers, if you are too far outside of the specific zone, then they unfortunately won’t deliver you puppies.

In cities like Philadelphia, all proceeds go to the PSPCA (Philadelphia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and when Uber brings the puppies, a PSPCA rep will be on-site to help with the adoption process if that’s on your mind. Uber’s website has a listing of where Uber Puppies exists, how it works, and a step-by-step on how the adoption process would go.

In the past, Uber has paired up with local shelters around colleges and brought puppies to campus. This happened on campuses such as Stanford, UC Davis, Santa Clara University. And during the Super Bowl, along with the Puppy Bowl, Uber pairs up with local shelters in 10 lucky cities to bring them puppies and cuddles. Much of these efforts are to help clear out shelters in these heavily populated areas, but also to help stressed out people – both on college campuses and in offices – find a new method of relaxing and de-stressing. So instead of reaching for that third or fourth cup of coffee or choosing to pull an all-nighter, check into your local area and see if you are within an #UberPUPPIES zone.

Universities across the country are starting to bring dogs on campus for puppy therapy, realizing the connection between destressing and playing with animals. A librarian at Emory University recalled to USA Today that they saw a student smile for the first time after enjoying time with the puppies. Some colleges are even allowing pet-friendly dorms where students can bring their dogs and cats from home. Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School both have resident therapy dogs that can be checked out from the library like a book.

A few years ago, Indiana University started “Rent-a-Puppy” day, where, for $5, students could book some time with a puppy from an animal shelter, and could adopt them also if parting was too difficult. Colleges are beginning to understand that sometimes the best stress relievers for some students aren’t to go workout and sweat their problems out, or to lay down on their therapist’s couch – but instead bury their face in the ball of fluff and love.

Image: Flickr

Culture

The end of the semester is almost here, and with that comes final exams. As a college freshman myself, I am especially nervous for the upcoming week-long cycle that seems to be everyone’s doom. But with all the hectic lists of things to do while preparing ourselves, I have to remind myself that it is equally as important to take the time to relax and wind-down.

Plan out this upcoming week to see how you can spend the time you have. Make sure you have time to study before your exams but also time to sit back and watch a movie with some friends while drinking hot chocolate. Giving your brain a rest will only help yourself to remember all the facts you need to know. Here is a list of a few movies to warm your heart with childhood memories and allow you to take a break from the stressful world.

1. The Little Mermaid: One of my personal favorites that is sure to help you take a trip down memory lane!

2. Home Alone: To get into the holiday spirit, be sure to put on this classic movie.

3. The Lion King: This one is sure to put a smile on your face and remind you how much fun just being a kid can be!

4. 13 Going on 30: We all need a classic chick-flick to help us relax and unwind!

Putting aside these fun movies, make sure to take a breath with all of your studying. It is just as important to take a break from the books as it is to study away! Best of luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Image: Camille Styles

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

EducationSkills

Finals are among us. For those in college, this means papers, projects, and a lot of cramming. For those in high school, this also means papers, projects, and a lot of cramming… There’s just so much to do! Homework, extra credit, paper outlines, group projects. Besides that, part time jobs, internships, after school activities. And before all of those, sleeping and eating! There’s a lot that seems to be happening right now, but there are some ways to deal with all the havoc that is December!

Prioritize.

Always do what you need to do first. Which one comes first: the big thesis paper or that extra credit project? Watering your plants or giving yourself a shower? Going to a club meeting or studying for an exam for that really tough teacher? Always do what is important, and don’t bother with the small stuff during this time crunch. The little things can be slipped in, but devoting large chunks of time to a 10 page paper is an efficient way of getting ideas out, onto a document, and out of the way. The little things you can do as mini breaks in between. Get up to stretch and do a 10 minute yoga pose for exercise, but do this between paragraph four and five of your essay. Moderate and prioritize.

Eat and sleep.

My university’s labs are open 24 hours during finals. In the early 3­-5am hours, students can be seen sleeping at their desk with the screen doing a five hour export. Other students can be seen with three empty cups of coffee next to their sewing machines with half finished shirts and dresses. But whether you’re in art school, business school, or high school, you need to get your sleep and your nutrients! You and a friend can do food­runs. Someone runs out to get dinner for both of you, then you trade and do the same for lunch. Do this for fabric material, photo paper, paint, ink, printer paper. One person can do that half-hour-run to Staples and the other person can do that half-hour run to the cafeteria. Roommates, workshop partners, lab buddies, you name it. It is the time to keep your body functioning during a time when there isn’t enough time.

Know your limits.

Alright. You didn’t sleep in the last 24 hours, and the night before, you only slept
three hours. Your hands are shaking from too much caffeine, and for some reason the words on the
screen are starting to move on their own. You have a dull headache that has turned into nauseousness and your neck is cramped. You haven’t seen daylight in two days. It’s time to stop. Yeah, that presentation is important and people are counting on you. Sure, that exam is 50% of your grade. But what’s the point if you’re going to pass out in front of your professor or wake up to the exam sheet stuck to your cheek? Sometimes enough is enough and there’s only so much you can do. That’s when you take a breather, take a walk, take a shower, take a break.

Dealing with everything is crazy. You and everyone around you are in high gear. Once
you figure out all you need to do, you’ll do them. Keep yourself going with enough sleep and
food. Sometimes, you have to just put everything down. Take it easy and good luck!

Image: TMAB2003

Education

Getting back into college mode is hard after a break. While Thanksgiving break wasn’t that long, it was enough time for me to get used to doing nothing but sitting around the house all day, watching movies, and eating delicious food. When it was time for me to leave home, a part of me wanted to stay and start my career as a full-time couch potato. Since that really wasn’t an option, I had no choice but to come back to school. Now that I’m here, the only thing I want to do is be lazy and not do homework or study for finals. It doesn’t help that our next big break is just around the corner.

It’s seriously all I can think about. I don’t know about everyone else, but I am excited to be able to laze about and spend time with family for more than a week. Since it’s the end of the semester, there won’t be any homework or group projects to work on. We will no longer have to worry about studying for quizzes or final exams. We’ll be home free! I know you’re getting starry eyed just thinking about it but don’t let yourself slack off just because we’re almost at the end.

You owe it to yourself to end this semester off strong. Treat your finals like every other test you’ve had thus far and put in the time to make sure you are as prepared as can be for your exams. It’s okay if you had a rough start to the semester. It’s okay if you’re tired. It’s okay if all you want to do is go home and forget about this thing called college for a little bit. I understand how all of you are feeling right now, which is why I am here to tell you to keep pushing. You might’ve had a rough start, but ending strong can make up for that. You might be tired and just want to go home, but your break will be so much more rewarding if you give your finals your all. Not only will you feel great for pushing through, but your grades will reflect your hard work as well. A runner wouldn’t give up or slow down when the finish line is in view. Well, finals week is our finish line. So pretend that you’re that runner. Push yourself to do better and work harder than ever so that you can come out a winner.

Losing momentum is the worse thing you can do to yourself. If you feel yourself wanting to give up, just remember that you can get through this. It doesn’t matter if this is your first semester of college or your fifth. We all need a pep talk during this time of the year. We all need to be reminded that we are brilliant and amazing and we can achieve anything as long as we work for it. So work for that gold medal. Do your best to ace your exams and even if you don’t do your best on an exam you gave your all, just remember that you did the best that you could and really that’s all you can do.

If you want to win a chance to be lazy during Winter break, then earn it by putting a lot more effort and hard work into finishing this race out strong.

You can do it. I believe in you!

Image: Anne

EducationSkills

November is the start of many things: cold weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and the holidays. However, while department store managers and baristas at Starbucks are preparing for the season, students are preparing for a different beast entirely. Exams are what shortly follow the month of November, so this month is a vital one in getting a few last good grades in before finals.

If you are one of the unlucky souls in desperate need of a few more A’s in a class, here are some ways to study for upcoming tests and exams:

1. Clear your mind and avoid multitasking

Cluttering your mind with other issues is probably one of the worst ways to study; in order to retain information you need to focus on that specific subject. Thus, multitasking is a terrible idea when studying. You do not need to have tabs open for other classes or for Facebook. Actually, if you have trouble with controlling yourself in terms of social media, websites like Cold Turkey is an amazing way to block social media temporarily, allowing yourself time to focus on studying.

2. Drink water and snack healthily

When studying, drinking water and eating healthy can play a vital role in retaining information. For example, eating slow carbohydrates, such as nuts, will give you a steady stream of energy and release of serotonin to keep you up and happy while studying. Whereas if you were to consume energy-infused foods and drinks, you will have a temporary rush of energy, but any information looked at during the crash will be lost to the intense desire to sleep. Also, prepare your snacks ahead of time to avoid wandering from the desk – you might never get back to studying.

3. Chew mint gum when studying and when testing

Psychologists have found that chewing mint gum while studying and testing correlates positively with good test scores. It allows your brain to make connections and help you remember retained information better. Therefore, it might be to your benefit to chew a stick of mint gum while studying for you next test and during the test itself.

4. Break up your study sessions, DO NOT CRAM!

MIT’s website shows that cramming can actually cause you to lose information and that the best way to study is in 20-50 minute intervals and to take 5-10 minute breaks in between these intervals. This allows your brain to absorb the information you just read without being overwhelmed.

5. If you are going to listen to music while studying, make it classical or instrumental

Everyone knows of the idea that playing classical music to an infant can increase the child’s potentiality of intelligence, and this idea still applies to students and young adults today. Studies show that classical music increases cognition and helps to remember data and material. However, classical music is not digestible by everyone. Hence, listen to some instrumental music, but make sure that it is instrumental music you are familiar with; if I try to listen to new music when I study, I get too distracted by the new melody and lyrics that I am listening to.

What are your best study tips?

Image: Anita Hart

EducationSkills

Midterms are right around the corner already and juggling studying with regular coursework can be difficult. Here are some tricks to balancing and preparing to help you do your best when these scary exams roll your way.

1. Don’t Procrastinate

If you have work assigned to you, take care of it as soon as you possibly can. Waiting may seem like a good idea at the time, but if you wait too long you’ll have more work added on, and before you know it you’ll have a huge pile of work to get done. By doing assignments at the earliest possible date you prevent the opportunity for excess stress to be created.

2. Think Ahead

If you know that an exam is coming up, don’t wait until the last minute to make a study guide or notecards. Instead, create your study materials as soon as you know what is going to be on the exam so when it does come to study time, all you have to focus on is that!

3. Know Your Study Techniques

While some people do well with written out study guides and notecards, others do well by repeating information aloud. Experiment with different study techniques in order to find the one that works best for you so you can have an easier time when the cramming comes around.

4. Ask a Friend

Don’t hesitate to ask a friend for help! Even having a partner-in-crime to go to the library with can motivate you to take the time to study and focus. If you see someone else studying hard, you’ll be more likely to do so yourself. Also, having someone to quiz you or explain different topics and concepts can ease the studying process and take a huge weight off your chest.

5. Plan Your Time

If you want to take time to rest or if you know you have a class that will take up a lot of time, plan it out. Planning out your day and managing your time is one of the most important things when it comes to preparing for midterm exams. If you don’t stay organized and scheduled, it can be difficult to juggle everything that gets thrown at you along with your daily routine.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to take breaks and keep from stressing yourself out. Getting the proper amount of sleep and relaxation is just as important in order to do well on these exams.

How do you prepare for midterms? Good luck!

Image: Jack Amick

EducationSkills

Finals are always stressful, especially when they fall right before the winter holiday. That means that while you are preparing for finals, you are also trying to arrange your trip home, pack up your bags, and shop for holiday gifts. It makes sense that on top of all these endless ‘to-dos,’ exams seem like an especially daunting task. Keep these in mind as you prepare for your winter finals…

1. Keep a Clean Work Space

Having an organized desk helps you focus better on the task at hand rather than being distracted by the clutter around you. Take one minute before each study session to throw away trash, organize pens and pencils, and remove unnecessary books or papers that you will not need for the next hour.

2. Time Yourself

Keep track of how much time you spend sitting and staring at a book or screen. It is better to concentrate for smaller increments of time if it helps you stay on track.

3. Keep a Calendar Nearby

Try hanging a poster up on your wall and mark the day finals end with a star or circle. Having a visual countdown could help keep you optimistic and concentrated on the goal!

4. Incentivize

In the world of Netflix/Facebook/Twitter/iTunes, it can be hard to stay focused while studying. To combat these temptations, give yourself small rewards along the way. For example, set a timer for two hours and at the end of that time, reward yourself with a piece of candy, a walk outside, a stretch break, or a phone call with a friend. You can also try a long-term incentive by choosing a larger reward and requiring yourself to study for an hour every day for a month. At the end of the month you are allowed to receive the reward if you have met the requirements.

5. Stay Hydrated and Snack Smartly

These tricks sound too simple to be true but they are the easiest ways to keep alert and awake. While it is easy to grab a bag of chips and a soda, the best way to stay full and hydrated is by eating fruits or veggies and slurping down H20!

6. Work at Your Desk

If you live in a small dorm room, avoid combining your private space with your work space. Do not sit on your bed while doing work, as this leads to distractions and a nap you did not see coming. If you do not have a desk in your room, head over to the library or work at your dining room table. Designating a work space will help keep you on track.

Good luck with your exams!