Keep Calm and Don't Fail Your Finals! Tips for Stress Management

By MidlevelU Intern and Aspiring NP Ashley Prince 

Ok, technically I'm not a nursing student yet. But the sentiment still applies. At the end of every semester I get bombed with all these "Keep Calm and Don't Fail Finals/Finish School/Graduate" pictures on Pinterest, where, admittedly, I shouldn't be anyway. But, every time one comes up I can't help but wonder what major do these people have that they can graze through finals week? And, is it too late to switch my major to that?

Just kidding. I love my neuroscience/pre-nursing curriculum, but its definitely not the easiest. It's going to become even more challenging when my STNA (State Tested Nurses Aid) class starts up on Monday, overlapping with my last few days of finals week. I'll admit that this probably wasn't the best time to sign up for the course, sanity-wise. However, taking it this early will hopefully optimize my chances of landing a job this summer to help out my nursing school applications come fall. 

What else am I doing to nail that acceptance letter this fall? I'm busy working on drafting a personal statement (more tips from a graduate admissions advisor to come!), coordinating more shadowing opportunities, knocking out three pre-req classes, studying to increase my GRE score, and looking into more nursing schools to apply to. After an honest conversation with my boyfriend, I decided that it doesn't matter where in the country I go to get my BSN. Most programs are only a year long- just a drop in the bucket to us long-distance pros.

So, there are a lot of things preventing me from "Keeping Calm" at the moment. Since stress actually inhibits performance (one of the many things I learned this semester), here are some of my favorite "Keep Calm" tips for finals week and beyond:

  1. Take a study break with an episode or two on Netflix. Specifically, I recommend New Girl and Once Upon a Time. 
  2. Exercise. The endorphin rush after a good run (or yoga, biking, etc.) makes me feel like I can conquer the world. Or, at least that thirty required pages of textbook reading. 
  3. Naps. Crashing for thirty minutes can actually be more productive than trying to plow through your notes sleep-deprived. Liquid naps (aka coffee) are also acceptable alternatives if you just need a little pick-me-up, as long as you take a mental break while enjoying it. 
  4. Calling your boyfriend, meeting a friend for lunch, going to see the new Captain America movie with your mom, or snuggling with your dog are all great ways to stay sane and remind yourself that school is not all there is to life. 

Good luck on finals everyone!