Midterm tensions

Students prepare for midterms and the stress that comes with them

Illustration by Gabrielle Funk

Midterm tests and practical exams are often associated with stress, but with the right study habits and self-care practices, students can make it out alright.

Anika Dowsett is a theatre major at the University of Winnipeg (U of W) and doesn’t have any traditional midterm tests but instead has upcoming performances, group projects and theoretical presentations.

“There is a lot of rehearsing outside of class, which isn’t necessarily studying, but you’re expected to do four hours of rehearsal every week outside of class,” she says.

Dowsett says her study habits for traditional midterms incorporate some procrastination and going over materials the night before or the morning of a test.

“I think my excuse is that I’m always thinking about the classes I really enjoy, so I never have to sit down and study,” she says.

Dowsett says the theatre department has less formal tests and more memorization of lines and acting.

“It’s important to have those mindfulness and grounding techniques like making sure you’re eating healthy and sleeping enough, because if you’re not doing those things, then there’s no way you’re going to be able to get up there and perform and get a good mark,” she says.

Exercises of mindfulness can be extremely helpful when dealing with stress during midterms and at any stressful time in life. Klinic offers weekly mindfulness meditation sessions free of charge.

Veroniek Marshall, the clinical director of Klinic, explains mindfulness meditation means being in the moment and sitting with and accepting one’s thoughts.

“It can be anything from a guided meditation to focusing on your breathing to mindful eating,” she says.

Marshall says practicing mindfulness often makes one’s nervous system more at ease and used to feeling mindful.

“When the nervous system is activated, like during exams, it’s hard to take in information,” she says. “If you’re in high stress, it can be hard (for) your brain to be functioning the best it can.”

In addition to keeping healthy eating and sleeping habits, Dowsett says she deals with school-related stress by taking baths, reading, playing with her cat, playing Yahtzee! and dancing alone in her kitchen to loud music.

“I try to make sure that I’m making time for myself and still remain passionate about the courses I’m taking in a context outside of school,” she says, referencing her non-school, theatre-related interests. “It’s easy to start hating what you’re doing when it’s all graded, and you’re no longer doing those things just because you love it.”

Klinic’s Life In Balance Mindfulness sessions are on Tuesdays from 12 to 1 p.m. at 870 Portage Ave.

Published in Volume 73, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 14, 2019)

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