Students must relax before ensuring finals success

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

It’s about this time of year when social media is flooded with various tweets about finals. People complain about how hard they’re going to be and how they’re all going to become insomniacs, replacing all sleep with studying and crying.

Along with being one of the most stressful times for students, this part of the semester also happens to be one of the unhealthiest. Countless students spend hours at libraries and coffee shops to get work done.

The term “all nighter” has become second nature for some who sacrifice a majority of their sleep to get a couple extra hours of studying. People skip meals or barely leave their rooms and study spaces in order to dedicate every second of their time to studying.

Students place so much importance on studying when it should be placed on finding time to relax instead. Students are more likely to perform poorly on finals and in classes when they’re running on less sleep with a stressed mind and body.

In a study done by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital, researchers found that work production is monumentally slowed the longer someone stays awake while being sleep deprived. The participants in the study were asked to find information on computers after a poor night of sleep. Their goal was to find the information quickly and accurately, but the longer the participants searched, the slower their ability to find things became.

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The same thing is bound to happen with students who spend hours, while running on little sleep, flipping through textbook chapters. At some point, they won’t even be able to find and interpret the right information.

The most important part about preparing for stressful weeks is setting aside time to rest. Whether that means catching up on sleep or watching a movie with friends to just get your mind off of things, that time you take as a break is crucial to improving your studying habits.

Divij Ranjan, a freshman in Engineering, said that during his most stressful school weeks he goes to various locations including libraries and coffee shops to study for up to four hours at a time. At the end of the day, he goes to bed around two to three a.m.

“I honestly think sitting down and studying for that long helps me the most of all things I do to study,” Ranjan said. “But at the same time, I know it’s so unhealthy for me. I end up skipping meals and I don’t really get a lot of exercise because I just don’t have enough time.”

Just hearing about it makes it seem crazy, but Ranjan’s case is true for a lot of students. They become zombies with only the idea of studying on their minds and push everything else to the side, including their own health. Even when students know that their study habits aren’t  healthy for them, they continue to practice them anyway. This is why students must begin to restructure how they plan on studying, especially during their most stressful weeks.

One of the most beneficial things you can do to keep healthy is make sure you’re eating full healthy meals. A lot of people don’t eat at specific times during the day, but regardless of when you eat, you need to make sure it’s filling and provides ample energy for the rest of the day.

The next is sleep. Taking “power naps” of 15-20 minutes has proven to be rejuvenating. According to Sara Mednick, sleep expert and author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life,” taking a power nap provides increased “motor performance” that allows people to fight off tiredness and helps them become more productive.

What seems to be neglected most is the need for physical exercise. Ranjan said that in previous and less stressful weeks, he’d go to the gym “every other day” to get some exercise in. However he sacrifices all of that time to study when he has to.

For many who stay cooped up in their rooms, even a walk can be enough to become more alert. Doug Hui, a sophomore studying Education, says,  “Even when I have a lot to do, I try to make at least a little bit of time to go to the gym and make sure I’m staying healthy.”

Hui believes that getting the extra exercise helps him feel more confident in himself because he feels well both physically and mentally, allowing him to perform much better in school.

You hear it time and time again — to eat better, to sleep more and to exercise — but you don’t realize how important doing those things are until you realize you haven’t done any of them.

It’s important to have the drive and motivation to study and work hard, but it’s equally important to have the drive and motivation to take care of yourself at the same time.

Saketh is a freshman in DGS.

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