December is upon us, and with it the lovely and long-awaited Finals Season. The days are shorter; your once enjoyable afternoon class now feels like a time warp when you leave only to find it is pitch black outside. We now layer up to brave the long walks between classes, just to feel suffocated when stepping into the intense Proctor heat. Morning conversations of “How’s it going?” have turned from lighthearted to the simple “It’s going.”
We are all in the same boat. Finals are hard. Winter is tough. But, finals do not have to be such a grim week. Winter does not have to feel dreary. We, at The Campus, have prepared a long list of self-care tips to lighten the dark days ahead. Sometimes it may feel like these things are much easier said than done, but it’s definitely worth giving them a try to help alleviate some of the finals blues.
1. Take time for yourself
Oftentimes at Middlebury and during finals season, it can feel like we have to be productive at all times. Although this may be an anxiety-inducing feeling, it is actually not healthy for us to work all the time. Shocker. During these coming weeks, we think that we should all prioritize taking time for ourselves. Even if it is just 10 minutes. It is vital that we give ourselves moments to relax, to think and to just be without schoolwork.
2. Do not let grades consume you
Fears surrounding final grades can sometimes feel all-consuming. A lower letter grade may feel life-altering. But, in the grand scheme of things, we all know that is not true. Grades do not define us. The stress caused by these grades is incredibly temporary. Even a year from now, you will not remember that exam grade. Balance in our lives at college is important, and concern about grades should not overpower all other aspects of our daily life.
3. Spend time outside
Although temperatures are dropping by the minute and daylight hours are slipping away, it is still highly recommended to enjoy what you can of the outdoors and the light. Even just a quick walk outside can bring some peace to a stressful day. Fresh air is good for us! It is not a myth.
4. Find something that brings you joy
Whether it be a comfort TV show, or even a long shower, small things that bring us joy are incredibly important in any season. Especially when stress levels are higher during finals, finding a small activity or thing that may relieve your anxieties for even a short amount of time can change everything. We all work very hard at this school and deserve a little reward. Treat yourself!
5. Do not spend every night closing out Davis Family Library
Please. We mean this one. Please do not be the last one in Davis for more than two or three nights consecutively. It is concerning to us, to the library staff, and to your sleep schedule. Sleep is important. It helps us be productive and functioning people. An hour of half-asleep research in Davis is considerably less productive than an hour of real sleep. Seriously.
6. Ask for help when you need it
If you are feeling especially overwhelmed, do not be afraid to reach out to your professors. Most professors are incredibly supportive and accommodating. Everyone wants you to succeed. If you need a few extra days or more support, reach out and ask. There are also plenty of resources on campus that can help with academic support, like the CTLR or Research Help Desk if you have more specific questions. And, the Middlebury Counseling services are there for you for mental and emotional support.
7. Take care of your body
Sometimes with an overwhelming load of work, it can be easy to push aside self-care. During finals and the winter season, it is as important as ever to prioritize your sleep, drink plenty of water, and rest. Winter is an especially taxing time on our bodies, so it is important to take care of ourselves to stay healthy and feel our best going into an exam or ski day.
8. A hot cuppa
A hot cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate is good for the soul. Highly recommended.
9. Embrace hygge (Hoo-guh)
Danish culture works to embrace their dark winter days through hygge. Hygge is a feeling, a vibe, of coziness. It’s getting comfortable with people you love, a good book, candles, or a warm blanket. At school, this can mean decorating your dorm room in a way to make it a welcoming space, eating an extra long meal at Proc or getting cozy with a crossword from The Campus. We can take advice from the Danes and take advantage of time indoors during the Winter with hygge. It brings warmth to cold winter days.
10. Borrow a happy lamp from the circulation desk
It’s December. There is minimal daylight. That will take a toll. Thank goodness Davis has happy lamps that can mimic the sunlight that we are missing. Try asking to borrow one next time you’re at the circulation desk. Let us know if it works.
11. Check out student groups performing on campus
Need a study break? This week is still full of awesome student-run events that should not be missed. Check out the Riddim show, or keep an eye out for the Middlebury Discount Comedy show, a cappella concerts, and more.
All in all, with the season of winter and finals upon us, we think it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves. We hope that these tips are helpful and that you can approach these coming weeks or months with contentment, joy and peace. Good luck everyone on your finals and have a great winter break.