With finals creeping around the corner, college kids everywhere are entering a panic mode. Papers are due, projects need to be completed, and dammit, we have tests to take! As this school year comes to a close, stress is taking its toll on us all. Here are some ways to survive the dreaded finals week:
- Wine: This is the most important thing to survive this week of Hell. I have just bought two bottles of my favorite sweet red that are currently chilling in my fridge, desperately waiting my arrival. I am hoping they last until at least Friday. It is a known fact that there are few problems wine cannot solve. If you happen to run into one of those problems, try whiskey.
- Caffeine: Pick your poison- coffee, pop, and whatever else you can get your hands on. Caffeine is everyone’s best friend, especially during times of stress. As much as I love alcohol, I have to draw the line somewhere: coffee lies in wait on the other side of that line. I need coffee to function, especially for that 8 am final that I haven’t studied for.
- Pillows: You never know when you are going to wake up and find yourself on the library floor, so it’s best to carry pillows with you. Don’t worry about embarrassment: it’s college. When we see someone sleeping in a random place, we just kind of understand. And if you are carrying a pillow, you will seem like the smartest person in the university. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start a trend.
- Ice Cream: Let’s be honest, you don’t have time to make food this week. Ice cream is convenient. All you need to eat it is a spoon, plus its mouthwatering taste can help you forget about all the things stressing you out… Well for at least a few seconds. But be careful! You don’t want to gain that Freshman 15 during the last week of your junior year.
- $20 Bills: These can be helpful when attached to your final paper, exam, or whatever else you may have due. Most professors say they won’t accept bribes, but have you ever tried?
- A Crown: Nothing is more empowering than writing a paper whilst wearing a tiara. Trust me, I know from experience. I am contemplating wearing to my math final; my confidence needs all the help it can get.
- Deodorant/Body Spray: You probably haven’t been showering as much as usual, because who has time for such luxuries? Just don’t kill your classmates with your repulsive smell: put on deodorant and/or spray some body spray on yourself. This is especially important if you haven’t been changing your clothes… #guilty #I’vebeenwearingthesamepantsforthreedays
- A Wall: This is to bang your head against. A table will also work, or any other hard surface you can find. Knock some sense into that thick skull. Repeat until your stress is reduced or you are knocked unconscious. If you are unconscious, please stop before you hurt yourself.
- Tennis Balls: These are useful for throwing at people. Whether it is your friend interrupting you or that one person in class that asks the stupid questions, this tactic will help other people from throwing off your groove. Use golf balls for those who don’t learn from the tennis balls.
- A Solid Back Up Plan: In case these finals go really bad, I’m talking no hope for the future bad, have a solid back up plan. Mine is moving to Vegas to be a stripper if this whole college thing craps out. If you think I haven’t done my research on how to become a stripper, you’d be wrong! Everyone needs a Plan B or even a Plan C. Just make sure it is one you are fully prepared to take.
Finals aren’t fun for anyone, that is no secret. However, as you suffer through it, just know that everyone else is suffering with you. If all else fails, turn on your favorite sad song or movie, and give yourself an excuse to cry. Maybe the professor will accept the paper you wrote with your tears. Keep your heads up, everyone. We can get through this last week together. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it yet. Good luck with your endeavors. Don’t give up yet, for the end is near.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my top ten insecurities (link for this is below). However, focusing on the negatives of oneself is easy- the hard part is honing in on the parts we like. This is something I struggle with as well. When I look in a mirror, the first things I notice are the pieces I don’t like. However, if you force yourself to focus more on the parts you actually like, looking in the mirror isn’t such a negative experience. So in order to counter balance for my top 10 flaws, here are the the top 10 things I love about myself.
- My Hair: My hair has always been my “thing.” Whether it’s in a pixie cut or down to my shoulders, it is always my favorite part of myself. I love to change it and explore different styles and cuts. (I have some serious hair styling skills.) I love the bright blonde, the thickness, and especially the confidence it gives me. Because while I may not be able to be perfect, my hair can be.
- My Intelligence: As wonderful as being smart is, this is something I struggled to love about myself for a very long time. It is not always easy being the “smart girl.” In fact, it can be really hard sometimes. However, at the end of the day I know that my critical thinking skills and executive functioning will help me go far in life. I have good problem solving skills and can be very innovative. I often notice things others don’t and can think my way through many challenges. Looks will fade, but intelligence tends to grow.
- My Humor: I have the kind of humor where I am very easily entertained. I often find myself laughing at the little things just as much as I laugh at everything else. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I feel that this is true. I have used humor as a coping skill for many tough things in my life. I also love spreading laughter, which is something that usually comes easily to me. I feel that my humor is one of top three best qualities, and I love it.
- My Hands and Fingernails: This may seem like a strange thing to love about myself, however I simply love my hands and nails. My hands are small with long fingers, which I feel is more feminine. They are soft (due to my lotion addiction) and just pretty. Can hands be pretty? I also love my fingernails, because they are strong and thick. This means that they grow to be very long and pretty. This means I get to paint them in different patterns and colors all time. This helps because even on my worst days, at least my nails are pretty.
- My Empathy and Compassion: I pride myself on this more than anything else. Everyday, I try my hardest to be a good person. I am not perfect, so sometimes I slip, but at the end of the day I know that my empathy and compassion keeps me ahead. This helps me to understand people, keep an open mind, and even be more forgiving. I am failing miserably to put this explanation into words, so I will just say this. I firmly believe that empathy is one of the most important qualities for people to have, and I am so glad that I posses so much of it.
- My Creativity: Everyone has creativity in them; some just haven’t yet unlocked it. I have always had an overworked imagination, and this shows in the stories I write, the paintings I make, etc. My creativity has saved my butt on several occasions, especially where school projects were concerned. This is, without a doubt, my favorite quality that I posses.
- My Eyes: In the physical sense of things, my eyes are definitely my favorite. I have always had a fascination with eyes (it is usually the first thing I notice), so it makes sense that this would be my favorite physical feature. The fact that they are green is what I love so much about them. Not only are they my mother’s eyes, but they also make me feel more Irish. I love my Irish heritage, and my green eyes make me feel like I am more a part of it. Sometimes they change colors on me, and take on a bluish hue, but when I look in the mirror, they are always green to me.
- My Resilience: I have always been able to pick myself up and dust myself off, no matter how bad the fall. No matter what happens, I live with the belief that everything will eventually be okay. I am convinced that there is nothing life can throw at me that I won’t be able to handle.
- My Make-Up Skills: I love doing my makeup- it’s like painting a canvas, and I’m pretty damn good at it. I don’t do it as much as I used to, but when I do, my makeup is on point. I can look at picture of eye makeup, and can usually replicate it, or even alter it. I love doing makeup because it is something that not only makes me feel pretty, but it is something that I am good at.
- My Thighs: This also appeared on my top 10 insecurities. This was not a mistake: I have a love/hate relationship with my thighs. I love how they are bigger than average, because they look so powerful. They make me feel empowered, and I love them for that.
After writing all of this, I can’t help but feel arrogant. I do not like to brag about myself, so this post is something I really struggled with. I didn’t want to come off as full of myself, because that’s not who I am. However, we have all earned bragging rights. Every person in the world has the right to talk to themselves up, and point out what they like about themselves. We spend so much time picking out our flaws and putting ourselves down, because we have been taught to believe that it is “impolite” to talk yourself up. I call crap on that: you have the divine right to build yourself up. Don’t be afraid to call yourself pretty or smart or whatever else you are. We all have something to be proud of, so own it. Own it as much as you want. No one is going to do it for you, so be proud of who you are.
Link to “My Top 10 Insecurities”
One week ago today, I was standing on the side of the road next to my broken car, which I had just crashed. It was cold and windy, and I was having one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had. Because of this, my past week has been no cake walk. In fact, my emotional process has been like an accelerated version of the one I went through when I lost my brother. I have had some of my worst anxiety, have been unable to sleep at night, have had troubles eating, have had horrible panic attacks, and have been unable to drive without panic. Now I know there are people with anxiety that is so much worse than this: I can empathize with you! It is AWFUL. Because I try to be a positive person, I have been trying to look at this as a strengthening and a learning experience. So here is what this week has taught me:
- The only person you can depend on is yourself: There will be times when the only one there for you is you, and that’s okay. Just make sure that you are there for yourself when you need it.
- You have far more inner strength than you think: You learn so much about how strong you are in a situation in which you desperately need another person to be with you, but no one is there. When it feels like it is impossible to face something alone, but you don’t have a choice, you discover just how much strength you have hiding inside yourself.
- Sometimes you do need someone: I am a person who thinks that I can do everything all on my own, that I tend to forget that I can ask for help. But there are things that are very hard to go through alone, and sometimes you do need someone to hug you, listen to you, or simply just be there for you, and there is nothing wrong with that. Needing someone to help you does not make you weak.
- People will talk about things they don’t understand: This is inevitable, and the problem is that it will not always be good things. Just remember, you know the real story, despite what anyone says. And you can use that to your ability in helping people to understand.
- You cannot always control your reaction: Many times the aftermath of trauma is harder to go through than the event itself. People may see this as an exaggeration, or maybe even an act to gain attention, however there are responses and symptoms to trauma that are outside of your control. Just hold on! Your real friends will understand and eventually the symptoms will subside.
- You sometimes feel like you’ve lost yourself: Give it time. You will find yourself again. I’m still looking for me.
- It’s not funny: When people joke about it, they may be trying to help, but to you it may not be very funny at all. Let them know this. It may even me okay for you to make jokes, but not for others. Let them know this too. You can joke about it because it is yours to joke about.
- It will get easier: Every day is a little easier to get through. One day you’ll be laughing with your friends and having a good time, and you’ll realize that you have gone 24 hours without a panic attack. You’ll realize that you managed to forget about it for a while. No matter how hard it is, it will get easier.
Going through a traumatic experience is never fun. It is hard and exhausting. But if you hold on, you will get through it. And if you need some help with that, feel free to hang onto my rope with me.
My personal daily challenge: Make at least one person smile every day. The world is full of things that will steal your smile, but the best way to get it back is to help someone find theirs. So smile today: simply because you deserve to.