Let me start by explaining the sophomore slump. I am in a very strange position where a) I am starting my upper level courses, b) I don’t get excited about college anymore, and c) I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life, much less in the next few months, which is freaking me out. Ever since I came back to school, I can only view campus in two ways: it’s rainy and it’s not Europe. I’ve only been in classes for about a week or two and my workload has become infinitely harder and denser. I have spent four hours trying to read one chapter of a textbook, in which I could have done so much more in over a year ago.
I guess this is my welcome to the upper-level classes, huh?
I really wish that I had taken some of these classes earlier. Maybe like an intro to an intro. My eyes can barely focus on the screen as I’m writing this right now because they’re so tired and I’m beginning to doubt some of the things I can do with enough sleep to function the next day. I need to destress – I’m hoping writing tonight will help me take my mind off my work. That being said, I looked up some ways to destress. And guess what the number one result was: kissing.
So I looked up other ways to destress, realizing that some of the best ideas were of the people around me. People who I could observe (at least trying to) destress. This isn’t France anymore: people walk around with purpose and determination. Something is always on someone’s mind whether or not it’s school work. I miss being laid back even though learning a new language is one of the hardest things to do. Props to the bilinguals out there.
Here’s my list. Maybe I can help the rest of you figure out how to distract your mind slash cope with this stress.
1. Take a 10-20 minute walk. Every time I’m done with a section of a chapter, I watch Netflix. Well, maybe that’s the source to my eye problems: staring at the computer for way too long. Getting up and walking around just for a few minutes will help you get your mind off things. Even if you are thinking about school work, you’ll also be looking at what’s going around you (perhaps appreciate it) rather than sitting in a chair for 8 hours and sulking.
2. Breathe. Another choice that I saw pop up during my research was yoga. Or tai chi. Really anything that would make you do what you probably don’t do when you’re cramming to stuff 100 pages of organic chemistry into your brain. In my experience, I find these types of activities to be stress-relieving only the first time I go. When I’m in the mindset of, “This is kind of nice and I like the candles that smell cool.” But when you keep going, you don’t realize how hard these activities actually are. It’s exercise (which is good), but you’re also stretching your muscles in unfamiliar positions where you have to hold it there for two or three minutes (not my cup of tea). To be fair, I’m also not a very flexible person. My best advice (even to myself) is to just breathe. Inhale. Exhale. There’s no reason to pay $60 for four yoga classes that you don’t know you’ll like anyway.
3. Eat a snack. I’ve had this problem too for a bit – I become hypoglycemic. I have to eat every once in a while to keep my blood sugar high and so do most people. It’s hard to focus when you have absolutely no calories. So hint hint: do not do some weird extreme calorie count diet if you’re trying to succeed in school because you won’t have enough energy to focus. However, that doesn’t mean you should be eating your Oreos and CheezIts from the vending machine and paying about $3 for them. Snag a banana or an orange or a fruit or vegetable. Eat a protein bar. Maybe some nuts. These will give you enough energy to keep working at an efficient and effective pace without making you feel gross afterwards. The worst feeling is when you eat guilty food and you feel so bad for eating those that you can’t focus anymore, defeating the whole point of eating in the first place.
4. Turn off the computer. Relating back to #1, your eyes will strain and your ears will go numb from sitting in front of a laptop screen with your headphones plugged in constantly. Words begin to jumble in unrecognizable lines and you basically just end up copying the text instead of learning what’s happening (which is a huge-ass waste of time). Do yourself a favor and just turn it off (that includes your phone, by the way).
5. See People. The worst part about studying is that we end up sitting in our rooms alone and hunched over our desks trying to scramble everything in. Being alone itself is nice, but you become depressed if you’re alone for too long. Get out and at least sitting with other people while doing work is enough to make you feel better.