Stu­dents study in class­rooms. Col­legian.

As the last final weeks of the semester are upon us, it can be a chal­lenging time as stu­dents and staff alike are exhausted and ready for break. However, we all want to finish the semester well, so here are a couple reminders to best help us to that end.

Take care of your body. This is probably the area that is most neglected during this time of the year. Let’s face it: We are all better people and humans when we sleep for seven hours a night (roughly the same times to bed and up each morning), eat three well-bal­anced meals and have even mod­erate exercise for 30 minutes a day.  And yet, these three areas are often com­pletely neglected during this time. Our bodies need rest, food for fuel, and a physical outlet for stress. Your brain will likely be more pre­pared for an 8 a.m. final if you wake up a little early and go for a brisk walk or easy jog for 20 minutes than if you pound three cups of coffee. Make time to attend to these areas so that your body can be at its peak when you enter this stressful time.  

Take care of your soul. For me, one of the most chal­lenging things about this time of the year is the nonstop activity. What often gets neglected is per­sonal time and reflection. We need to make time to reflect on: how we are doing (being mindful of our current emo­tional state), how we are coping (is it working or not? Are we avoiding destructive ways of coping?), what brings us purpose and meaning, and having per­spective on what does and doesn’t matter. Often, recom­mitting our­selves to these exis­tential ques­tions can you give us moti­vation and drive to per­severe during these chal­lenging times.

Take care of your mind. In the midst of busy and crazy schedules, we are often just focused on checking off our daily tasks and don’t think about what our mental per­spective is during these times. How I think about stress has a lot to do with how the stress affects me. I don’t want to garner eye-rolls by quoting “strength rejoices in the chal­lenge,” but hon­estly, it is important to see that stressful times are often times that we grow as moral, intel­lectual, and social beings. That will likely only happen if we view chal­lenging times as just that: a chal­lenge.  

One last tip is that this is often the time of the semester when stu­dents realize they are behind in classes; they skipped too many classes; didn’t apply them­selves the way they really meant to; are strug­gling with non-aca­demic related issues that are impacting the classroom; or having other chal­lenges. So, be aware of those things. Set rel­evant goals for next semester so that mis­takes don’t repeat them­selves. Access resources on campus — pro­fessor office hours, coun­seling, career guidance, meeting with a mentor — to best insure that you can handle stress and chal­lenge next semester.