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Coping with Finals – Papers & Exams
Dec 5th, 2011 by Liza Wiemer

Are you slammed with writing papers and studying for exams? Freaking out and feeling paralyzed on how to get through this intense time? Most likely, there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to get all the work done. Perhaps you procrastinated and now it feels like you’re living in HELL. Been there. Done that. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful.

1. Start with the basics. If you haven’t done so already, write out the date and time for the exams and when the papers are due.

2. Get organized. Know what you need in order to study or write. Need to go to the library and check out books? Research on the net? Borrow notes from a classmate? Actually read the material? (If you haven’t done this, obviously you know you’re in a rough spot and most likely can’t make up a quarter or semesters’ worth of reading. Do your best. Read the first three paragraphs of each chapter section and skim until you reach the last three paragraphs. Read those. In no way am I advocating this as a method of learning – but if you’re in crisis mode, it’s a decent solution.)

3. Block out time to work on the papers and study for the exams, then stick with the schedule. Isolate yourself if you need to and whatever you do, make a promise to yourself that you’ll avoid all social networking during that time. Social networking has a way of being a total time sucker! Don’t fall into the trap.

4. Know your teacher/TA/professors’ office hours. Take advantage of any study sessions they may have. If you have questions or know that you don’t understand something, don’t wait to get help. If you’re writing a paper and you’re not sure you’re on target, BRING IT TO YOUR PROF and ask her to look at it and give you direction. This shows you care and are concerned, so don’t worry about looking stupid or that you’ll feel foolish. If necessary, explain to your prof what’s going on and see if you can get an extension. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. And if you don’t get it, at least you asked.

5. Load up on protein. Protein prevents sugar highs and lows so it’ll help sustain you. Keep a few of your favorite munchies and caffeinated drinks and water with you.

6. Do your own work.

7. Avoid taking someone else’s prescription drug to enhance your ability to concentrate or focus. You might believe that you can do it once or justify it in order to get through this difficult time, but everyone’s body reacts differently to meds, and like any drug there can be serious ramifications. Or maybe not. But is it worth the risk? Once tempted who’s to say you won’t be tempted again? Be respectful of yourself and your body. Look at the big picture. Ask yourself: A year from now, five years from now how important was this?

8. Destroy your unrealistic expectations. Just flush the idea of perfection right down the toilet. Who the heck is ever perfect? Do your best in the moment based on the circumstances you’re facing. Teachers/professors can and do overburden their students. They don’t have a clue what others have assigned. Live with doing your best in the here and now. Don’t ask more of yourself. It’s totally unreasonable. Don’t berate yourself for any reason. Even if you procrastinated, move on. Take hold of the here and now and do what it takes so that you can be satisfied that you took charge in the moment. Negative self-talk is a huge waste of time and destructive. Stop. STOP!

9. Don’t take a “screw-it” attitude. If you’re thinking that you’ve already screwed it up, so why try, you’ll only hurt yourself. Self-destruction isn’t pretty. Seriously, just do something positive with the assignment. Even if you know that you could have done better, accept what you ARE doing as the best in the moment. And if you’re in crisis, even if it’s of your own making, talk to your teacher/TA/professor. Not everyone has a heart of gold and will cut you slack. But go in with a clear plan. Show that you have given it some serious thought and be reasonable. I’m hopeful that these educators will want to see you succeed.

10. Many need to pull all-nighters. If you can, snatch a twenty to thirty minute snooze during the day. SET YOUR ALARM. Good luck. And when it’s all over, do something nice for yourself. ☺

Help, I’ve Made Mistakes And I Can’t Get Past Them
Oct 27th, 2010 by Liza Wiemer

Mistakes are part of the human experience.  There are consequences for sure, but you determine how they will shape your future.  I’d like to give you some points on how to get past the self-hate talk/actions that are so harmful to every aspect of life and can actually lead to more self-destructive behavior because you’re subconsciously (or consciously) trying to punish yourself.  Does this sound familiar?

The regrettable hookup.

Cheating on a boyfriend/girlfriend.

A unhealthy, toxic relationship.

Not seeing the truth when it is staring you in the face.

Lying to a friend (whether you got caught or not.)

Lying to parents (whether you got caught or not.)

Posting comments or photographs that were embarrassing about someone else.

Hurting a friend and now she hates you.

Cheating on a test (whether you got caught or not.)

Underage drinking and getting caught.

Drug bust.

Unplanned pregnancy.

Spreading rumors.

  1. Recognize what situation(s) made you feel angry/frustrated/regretful. Sometimes you really doesn’t know.  You just feel miserable.  Step back and look at the pattern.  Is there a particular person you are reacting to?  Do you hear yourself repeating something negative over and over again?  Do you bristle to a particular person or group of people or to a situation?  Ask yourself why? If you need to write these things down.
  2. Determine your pattern of self-destructive behavior. Is it negative self-talk?  Do you repeat the pattern over and over again – more bad hookups?  Binge drinking?
  3. Let yourself off the hook.  Whatever it was that you did, it’s time to remove the massive fishhook from the back of your neck.  It means forgiving yourself.  It means no longer hating yourself so much that you can’t live in the present.  Should you pay the price of a new BMW for a used Chevy Malibu?  That’s what we do with self-destructive behavior.  This is a critical step!  If you don’t take care of yourself or make your way back to liking/loving yourself, it makes it hard to like or love someone else.

    How long do you want to keep the hook in the back of your neck?

  4. Letting yourself off the hook does not mean that you don’t take responsibility for your actions. If you need to say you’re sorry or do something to rectify the situation, then take care of it.  The longer you wait, the harder it is.  But realize that you might ask for forgiveness and you may not get it.  That’s okay.  It’s on the other person.  Be sincere and do the very best you can.  Obviously, not every situation requires asking someone else to forgive you and maybe it isn’t necessary.  Only you can determine this.  But don’t delay!
  5. STOP the self-destructive behavior. If you tell me, “I can’t!” Then I ask you why would you hate yourself so much that you would continue to do this?  Would you treat your best friend this way?
  6. If you feel wobbly after going through these steps or occasionally hear the negative self-talk coming out don’t give up!  Regroup and talk yourself through it again.

Best of luck!

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