Caring for yourself during the final stretch

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Self-care on a budget, baby. Annie Spratt via Unsplash

End of semester always increases the risk of neglecting our needs

As the semester comes to an end and the weather cools down, it becomes even harder than usual to keep up with the changing weather and the semester becoming busier. If you are in a funk or state of burn out, then know that you are not alone. Unfortunately, this will not make finals go away, as much as I’d like them to disappear. Thus, I often find myself figuring out how to stay on track and keep on top of things. It is that time of the year where one cannot afford to slack off or fall behind. You blink and suddenly you have four papers, four exams, two presentations, and more. Amidst this all, it is important to find that specific time during the day where your brain can relax and take some time off to recharge. Even if an hour or two is all you have, it is all you need.

When I was new to university, there were times where I had no idea how to navigate university life. I would often find myself accidentally falling asleep in the library in the middle of my study sessions. This was a clear sign of my messed-up sleep schedule. I decided then that I would fix my sleep schedule. A healthy sleep schedule will do magical things to you. It will help you stay on track, be on top of your assignments, and help with time management. Furthermore, it will be hard to do exams when you’re sleep deprived.

When it comes to papers, projects, and assignments, I like to do things in steps. First, I spend a day or two strictly on research. I like to gather all my sources and put them in one file. While doing this, I ensure that I have cited all my sources in the appropriate format for my course. It is easier to cite from the start than at the very end. When I’m reading my sources, I like to take notes on them in a different file and save it. This makes it easier to write my papers. By the time I am done with my research notes, it usually takes me an hour or two to write the actual paper. Research is what takes the longest to complete.

I then edit and proofread. One of the most helpful websites for me has been Grammarly. Trust me, this is not an ad. I always use the free version and it is still helpful and always improves the quality of my paper. Sometimes, when an article is too long, I like to use Wordtune. Essentially, it summarizes your article and tells you what the most important points are, and is extremely detailed. Of course, I absolutely do not plagiarize the summary, but reading the summary before turning it into my own words is helpful. Sometimes it helps reading things in easier terms as the jargon used can be extremely overwhelming at times. I prefer to use APA citation over MLA. APA follows the order of the author’s surname, initials, the date the paper was published, title of the source, location of the publisher and finally the website it was retrieved from. I have also encountered classes where the Chicago format was used. MyBib is a fantastic website to use that helps with citations of all formats, I highly recommend it to all students.

When it comes to the end of the semester, food is one of the most crucial means of surviving and maintaining your sanity. I love meal prepping throughout the year but especially during finals. I usually prep healthy meals like soups, but I like to leave room for indulging as well since it is easier to get stressed. I am the type of person who forgets to eat when I am busy, so I make reminders to have meals during finals. I am naturally gifted at cooking thanks to my parents. I love roasting Japanese sweet potatoes (they must be the Japanese sweet potatoes, not the orange ones) and topping it off with a side of salmon or tofu, drizzling some hummus on it and having it with white rice or quinoa on the side for a full meal.

I also love oatmeal. I make mine using steel cut oats because they taste much better than regular oats. I always make my oatmeal with unsweetened vanilla oat milk because it turns out creamier than normal. I like to top mine off with some peanut butter, agave, and frozen berries. StudentRecipes.com has over 4,000 quick and easy recipes tailored to students. When I need some food inspiration, I like scrolling through Recipepuppy.com. It’s a website that allows you to search for recipes based on the ingredients that you already have in your refrigerator.

For organization, I love using Notion. It is a tool that places all your work in exactly one area. It keeps track of your work and even helps you stay focused. Habitica is another website that makes fun games which help you accomplish short term goals by tracking your progress and offering you rewards for your productivity. If you’re a student, I’m sure you have heard of Quizlet. I love using it to help me study for all my classes, and using the free games and flash cards to help me remember certain details.

The most important thing is taking your vitamins. As students, we often forget to take care of ourselves. I always say that the most important relationship that you will ever have been the one that you have with yourself. Your body is valued, and it is important that you nourish it mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is easy to forget that sometimes our bodies need certain nutrients to thrive. Everyone is different which is why it is better to see a doctor so you can know what it is that your body needs.

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