• March 4, 2021 |

    beating the mid-semester blues

    article by , , illustrated by

    We’ve all been there. You’ve got a midterm tomorrow, a problem set today, and a paper due yesterday. We’re now in the thick of mid-semester, and with it, midterm season. Many of us are stressed, whether from the sheer volume of work or the added weight of being expected to perform under the immense pressure that is college during COVID-19. [shouldn’t there be a sentence introducing that they’re going to give coping mechanisms here?]



    Much like the girl from the lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to video, we all spend inordinate amounts of time staring at a screen or book and getting absolutely zero work done. Might as well fully commit to the vibe and make your own playlist. Workshop it to perfection, and maybe along the way you’ll find some inspiration to get your work done. At the very least, you’ll be aesthetic, and if that isn’t the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, I have never read a psychology textbook. (Full disclosure, I have never taken a CLPS class, so take that as you will.)



    Few things can fill the void like a good warm meal or snack. So treat yourself (looking at you, Gus, with your carton of goldfish). Go out and grab some trail mix, candy, chocolate, or an Uncrustables. “Food is fuel,” to quote Remy’s dad from Ratatouille, and you gotta fuel your thinking engines or you’re gonna crash. Eat and take care of yourself. You deserve it. <3



    Sometimes all you need is a good, short five-minute rest to break free from the stresses that be… On the other hand, if that devolves into a 12-hour Netflix binge…well, that’s fine too, you’re valid. Chill out with Netflix, in the vein of 12-hour binges. TV is a great way to escape the chaos of midterm season. Whether you’re delving into the world of Bridgerton or you’re watching Community for the 15th time, take some time and escape! 



    Science has spoken, and it says taking breaks to walk around can improve circulation and concentration. So when you’ve had enough, take a walk to clear your mind. You never know, you might run into an old friend and/and stop to chat, or see birds, or almost get hit by a car because you’re busy being enamored with the wonders of nature. Providence is very walkable, so get out there and practice self-care


    Study Groups

    There is nothing quite like sitting down with a group of work acquaintances to get things done in a focused way. Whether it’s working on problem sets, group projects, or quizzing each other on midterm concepts, studying and fighting the grind gets a lot easier when you work in groups. Meet up with your pod if you can to beat the screen fatigue, and at the end you’ll usually find that you’re in a much better academic position than you were before, even if your brain now hurts.


    “Study” Groups

    Or, don’t. Sometimes you’ve been working for too long and you cannot feasibly be expected to actually get quality work done. That’s fine, so go and hang with your friends in a safe way, and enjoy the company. Watch Vine compilations [or TikTok compilations for you younger Zoomers ;(], catch up on celebrity gossip, and take Buzzfeed quizzes to discover which millennial avocado toast you are by decorating your theoretical Brooklyn loft. We are humans. We are social creatures who need interaction, so make sure to fill up those needs as well. If you can, grab a study room and goof around on the whiteboards, devolve into karaoke mode, or discuss literally anything but the material for your next midterm. 


    The modified 5AM Loui’s

    You might find that after your TV binge and not-so-productive “study” group session, you need to pull an all-nighter. After you emerge victorious from your long, tumultuous study session, you may be in need of some sustenance, so if/when you’re still awake at six a.m., stop by your favorite diner, drive-in, or dive (or really just diner-dive, sorry Guy Fieri), and support local weird Providence businesses. Plus, it’s delicious. 


    Stress-Bake: NOT WHAT YOU THINK.  

    Sometimes active critical thinking gets to be too much, and you need to take a break from the stress. Well, you can always stress-bake. Baking is a science, but it is also deeply calming, and when I take a cookie-baking break, I always feel more centered just from following the simple instructions to the letter and not having to engage my brain at all. Plus, there’s the bonus of getting to enjoy the fruits of your labors, and there’s no shame in eating 13 cookies by yourself with a nice cold glass of milk. It’s midterm season, kiddo, you’ve earned it.