By Hannah Hunt
Now that the first few weeks of school are behind us, we’re headed into everybody’s (least) favorite time of the year: midterm season. When exams and projects start building up, it can be hard not to wallow in stress. However, working yourself up too much over midterms is detrimental to your mental and physical health (and often doesn’t help your performance, either). Here are some of my best tips on how to de-stress around exam time and to keep you feeling your best!
- Go outside
A little bit of sunshine and fresh air can really do wonders for your stress levels, and there are some amazing spots around the USC campus where you can relax and forget about your exams. For example, the Exposition Park Rose Garden is a hidden gem just right across the street from campus– all the colorful roses and sparkling fountains make it a perfect place to stroll or read a book
2. Get some food
When you feel the work piling on, comfort food is what you need. No matter what your favorite cuisine is or what you’re craving, you’re bound to have plenty of options in Los Angeles! There are some really yummy restaurants on campus, like Seeds in campus center or CAVA in the Village, but don’t be afraid to go off campus for a special treat either– Salt and Straw ice cream in Santa Monica is a favorite!
3. Go on an adventure
If you’re worried about exams, sometimes getting off campus is the best thing to do. Think about the places that make you happy or get you excited: maybe it’s the beach, a museum, or a theater. If you don’t know where you want to go, just turn to the Internet to see if you can find something interesting going on that you want to try out (in Los Angeles, you can always find something!). Spontaneous “field trips” are great to take your mind off your stress, and giving yourself some time off campus gives you a fresh perspective when you do return back to school.
4. Talk to people
Even though sometimes all you want to do is be by yourself, when you start to feel stressed that’s actually a great time to hang out with friends. Surrounding yourself with friends will remind you that you’re not alone, and is guaranteed to leave you feeling better than you would if you just holed yourself up in your room. Ask a friend to grab coffee, or to do a fun activity with you– chances are they’ll be just as grateful for the opportunity to take a break from studying!
5. Make a schedule
It’s important to take your mind off your studies occasionally, but sometimes (especially as ambitious USC students) stress just won’t go away until your work is finished. To help speed up that process, try making “to-do” lists or schedules where you prioritize assignments and space out blocks of time to work on them throughout the day. The schedule will keep you organized, as it’s harder to procrastinate when you’ve already blocked out what you want to work on — this intentional use of time will help you feel productive, so at least you can end each day feeling a little more accomplished. Of course, be sure to schedule in breaks and time to decompress, so you keep your mind fresh!
Featured image by Espacio Mas Instante on Unsplash
Hannah is a student in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences pursuing a double major in political science and comparative literature. She came to USC from a small town in Connecticut, and is very grateful to now be living in the Southern California sunshine! Hannah loves to meet new people through travel, and has spent time in Europe, Africa, and across North America. At USC, Hannah is a member of the Thematic Option Honors Program and serves as an executive board member for both the parliamentary debate team and the equestrian team. She also loves photography, ice cream, and animals of all kinds!