Month of Hacks

 

Every break, I decide I am totally going to be super productive this time, create a list of things I want to do, and then immediately lose all motivation and sleep until noon everyday. This break however, I’m determined to finally complete just a few of the projects I’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to actually doing.

To start with, I bought a Raspberry Pi. I’m not talking about the delicious pastry, but rather this little baby:

Significantly less tasty.

It’s a credit card sized computer, with basically an infinitum of possibilities. I know of esteemed engineers who’ve used it for everything from work to home automation–a la the Smart Homes article I wrote earlier, which you can read here. The Raspberry Pi Zero, the base model, only costs $5. For basically the cost of a sandwich (or a little more, if you spring for the higher models), you can create some of the coolest customizable devices you can think of, like a wall mounted Google calendar or a mobile radio transmitter. Perhaps a little off the beet, this guy used the Raspberry Pi to create a simple instrument to play the drums using actual beets.

In conjunction with my exploration of the Pi, I desperately want to try my hands at some new programming languages. In the 21st century, there are perhaps millions of resources to learn new languages, API’s, or just how to code at all.

Maybe on of the most beginner friendly, Codecademy, was where I wrote my first few lines of (very simple) code years ago. A great, intuitive interface, a really step-by-step and thorough lesson, and with extremely easy to understand and simple explanations, Codecademy is actually a really good place to try out coding. They also have a really wide variety of lessons, including quite a few about API’s.

I personally will be using Learn Code the Hard Way which while sounds intimidating, is probably more useful, because it teaches you from the ground up. Unlike Codecademy, which skips the messy installation, terminal, and compiling, Learn Code the Hard Way forces you to do everything from scratch. So yes, that means no IDE, Integrated Development Environment, (no matter how great Eclipse seems). You have to open up Notepad, write the command line, and start from there. But at the end of the day, it’s these skills that really make you a better programmer–relying on crutches will eventually hinder your ability to code by yourself. It’s better to skip the training wheels and just jump right into it.

I suppose this begs the question: what exactly will I be doing with all of this? And to be honest, I don’t know yet. For now, I’m just learning and exploring. I don’t doubt that whatever I learn with the Raspberry Pi or with the languages I’m going to dabble into, I’ll apply in the future–either in Hackathon, in class, or even in a work environment. At the end of the day, my projects don’t necessarily have to be super successful, or even totally functional, I just have to had learned something.

WIN(ter) Break

Oh winter break. Four weeks of mom’s homemade food, dad’s corny jokes that you actually kind of missed, and seeing your siblings and pets and hometown friends. Appreciate these four weeks before they’re gone. I know you’re probably thinking, “I want to go back to school and my friends,” but trust me, you’re never going to be able to be this unproductive and relaxed without consequences ever again. (Okay, until maybe next winter break). Personally, this last semester absolutely drained me and I couldn’t wait to run out of my dorm and jump into my warm, comfy bed back at home. And now that I’ve spent one week burrito’d up in my blanket, sleeping, eating, bingewatching Scrubs, and repeating, I decided to be slightly more productive, and I thought I would share things I plan on doing this break/recommend doing. So here’s how you can win at conquering winter break.

  1. Visit New York City

For those of you who haven’t already driven into the city or taken the train to see the Rockefeller tree, I definitely recommend going into the city. The Rockefeller tree is up and lit until 8 pm on January 6, but even besides that, NYC is just so magical during the winter. Bryant Park offers a free ice-skating rink surrounded by a bunch of cute, small holiday shops that sell everything from handcrafted jewelry to delicious hot chocolate. There are Broadway shows to watch, new restaurants to try out, and street music and performers to be awed by. Go with friends, with family, or even just with your camera and see New York in all its lights, bustle, and wintertime joy.

2. Plan a trip to somewhere new and fun with your family

One of the perks of being home for a month is that now you can rely on your parents to fund your entertainment and food and transportation. So take advantage of it! Spend a weekend driving up to the Poconos or take a longer break and drive up to Vermont and hit the slopes. Or if warm weather and sunshine is what you seek, get away from NJ’s cold, rainy environment and soak up some sun in Florida. Or simply just go to Princeton and spend a day having lunch with your family.

3. Look up the syllabi for next semester’s classes and finalize your schedule   635850568644211108697354209_aaaaa

Yeah, I know this break is hibernation from all college-related tasks, but your future self will thank you if you look ahead into your classes now, make sure you know what you want and what is expected of you, and buy any material you may need while you’re at home. I did this just this week and also emailed some of my professors for the upcoming semester asking them just what is expected of me for their classes, and it definitely helped me clarify my tasks for next semester. There is nothing wrong with planning ahead especially now that you have the free time to do so.

4. Apply for Summer Internships/Look into Research Opportunities 

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If research or experience in a field is something you are interested in, you should definitely use this free time to look into it. Search for internships in your field, send out some emails, and see where your searches lead you. Look into Rutgers’ ARESTY Research program as applications will go live in the spring. ARESTY is something I am currently involved with right now and I highly recommend looking into it.

5. Do Anything and Everything You Didn’t Have Time to Do Before

Whether that’s read the stack of books on your desk that has been collecting dust throughout the semester or open up your sketchbook again or yes, even finish the ten seasons of Friends, do it now. You’re going to get so busy again in four weeks that you will regret not taking advantage of this time now.

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And with that I wish you well on your four weeks of conquering winter break.

Television has Made its Home in Me (and I’m Okay with That).

I’m super into TV shows. It took me a while to admit this because it didn’t used to be this way. I actually used to find them a waste of time (I know, I know, cue the gasping and “What‽”). I didn’t see the point of having to take out 45 minutes of your time to watch something; I didn’t like that I could never control how long it took me to complete an episode. I could read a 100,000-word novel in four hours (?) I think. If I skimmed, that time could be even shorter. But I couldn’t watch a 45 minute show in 20 minutes; it just didn’t work that way. But something changed. If you read my post called the The Hunger to Consume, you’ll understand that it’s because I found that there’s so many things to learn from other people’s interactions, and that one of those things you can learn is how to hold onto hope even through the roughest times.

Now that winter break is FINALLY here, I can catch up on all the TV shows I was unable to watch this entire semester, or rewatch them, because I was too invested in schoolwork to properly analyze them. But after spending time watching many shows over the years, I’ve collected a bunch that have really affected me.

Here’s a short list of the shows that I currently (and probably will always) love:

Hannibal

Now that I’ve received the entire series (only three seasons, sadly) for my birthday, I’m probably going to re-watch this show and introduce my friends to it. (I’ve been convincing them to watch it for the better part of a year). I never, ever expected that I would be so invested in this show. It was supposed to be a normal show, another FBI-type serial that I could put on in the background while I did my homework or watched just to de-stress. It was literally anything but. This show, with Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal and Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, forced me to think with every episode I watched; all the dialogue was in metaphors and it was said so effortlessly, as if the characters processed it all in the span of time it takes in snapping their fingers. And on top of that, the cinematography was a feast for the eyes (and don’t even get me started on how mouth-watering the food looked). If you’re okay with a little (a lot) of gore, food that looks so good that you’ll want to throw out everything in your fridge and pantry (but then don’t when you realize the food is made of PEOPLE), cinematography that almost makes you ashamed of ever picking up a camera, then this is the show for you. Also, spoiler alert: Hannibal is a cannibal, but, as you’ll see, a very sophisticated one.

Daredevil

I have a weakness for shows in which people chase after justice. And so, I have a weakness for this one. This show originates from a comic-book series from Marvel which I unfortunately haven’t read, but I probably won’t pick them up until this show ends because I don’t want spoilers. This show has only one season so far but the next is coming March 2016. It follows Matt Murdock, blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night as he brings justice, in all senses of the word, to Hell’s Kitchen, New York, with his friends, Foggy Nelsen and Karen Page. One of the many things I really enjoyed about this show was how real the fight scenes and how real the emotions were. Nothing felt over the top, and Matt Murdock’s struggles felt personal and real. Along with that, the antagonist was well fleshed-out. If you’re looking for a superhero story that doesn’t feel too grand and unreachable but real, as if it could possibly happen and actually come from the world we live in, this one’s for you.

Supernatural

Once you start this show and properly get into it, you will never stop. This show is one of hope in times of despair. It is the realization that, “Family don’t end with blood.” It’s a horror show, but it’s also a comedy and a drama. Coming in at 11 seasons with no signs of stopping, Supernatural is a tale of two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who travel the country hunting monsters that go bump in the night. And then once you meet Castiel (and Crowley), you’ll love this show even more. It’s a show of finding yourself, learning that it’s okay to make mistakes and that you have to keep moving forward, and that sometimes rebellion (for the right reasons and done the right way) is the way to go.

There are others that I love like Once Upon a Time, Sherlock, The Walking Dead, and Orange is the New Black. (I recommend all of these, by the way!) However, there’s only about a month of winter break, and there’s only so much Netflix-ing I (and you) can do. So, off to it! And let me know if you end up loving these shows as much as I do! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

We’re Halfway There

I woke up early Monday morning to study for my last final of the semester in our off-campus home. It was still dark outside and rather gloomy, but the cup of coffee in my hand and the holiday decorations in our living room created a warm and inviting atmosphere. I had no choice but to jam out to my favorite Michael Bublé song (“jamming” used loosely because it was 5 AM and all of my housemates were sleeping).

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As I turned on the Christmas tree lights, I couldn’t help but remember how much fun I had putting them up with my housemates. I scrolled through the photos I had of that night, making a mental note to print them out later. I thought of more productive ways to procrastinate. I considered cleaning the floors and making more coffee. Then I looked at the photos again.

And that’s when I realized a critical, undeniable, heart-wrenching fact- that I only had one more semester left as an undergrad, and only a handful of months (five) left living with my closest friends in my second home.

Step 1: Panic and Freak Out

Although it is creaky and falling apart,  our off-campus New Brunswick home is something I have come to love dearly, no doubt because of the people in it. It was a “Brett house,” passed down to us from the previous owners. Living in Brett Hall had its perks (such as meeting all of the people that I now live with), but there is a certain independence that comes with living in your own house, with cooking your own food, with not wearing shoes in the shower. You learn things like a) turning up the heat really high results in an insanely high bill and b) you can lose your hamster in a small room and c) just because you can eat three dinners doesn’t mean you should.
There is a certain freedom that comes with sharing a house with your best friends. We are a mix of girls and boys with different personalities, so a day in our house is like an episode of Friends. There are conflicts you have to work through (chores), schedule differences you have to plan around (showers), and unforgettable traditions that inevitably emerge as a result of living together. Living  off-campus was an integral part of my college experience and I recommend it to anyone who thinks they might be interested.
I’ll never forget the first time I called this house my home. I had a lengthy day of class, followed by two shifts at two jobs that I worked back to back. It had been a terribly stressful day and someone asked me if I wanted to go out. I politely declined, realizing that the only place I wanted to be was my home. Cue a feeling of realization. My house felt like my home! And when I came home I found my friends all sitting together and laughing. That was only the start of the feeling of warmth that I associate with the place and it has only grown since.
Step 2: Reflect (and tear up)
There are many memories that I want to treasure forever- and others I am afraid I have already lost. Cue scrapbook time (I’m looking at you, roommate):
  • Spontaneous cookie baking
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  • Decorating everything–even the paintings
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  • Pets–our fluffy groundhog, hamster, our temporary puppy Baxter and newest garbage squirrel
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  • Domino’s Pizza with pigs in a blanket crust
  • Friendsgiving with Boston market
  • Nineties’ nights of singing and dancing
  • House costumes for Halloween (Toy Story, Mean Girls)
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  • Sharing clothes
  • Ordering milkshakes… all of the time…
  • Harry Potter marathon
  • Everyone sharing the same Netflix account
  • Watching Friends and Jane Austen movies with J 😮
  • Secret Santa–a four-year tradition
  • Finding all sorts of friends crashed on your couch in the morning
  • Talking, talking, talking, laughing, laughing, laughing
  • Creating our own slounge (study lounge) in the living room during finals…

 

Step 3: Accept (and go back to studying for finals, you procrastinator)

The week before freshman year started, I was visiting my brother in Moscow. I was saying goodbye to him at the airport when he gave me a big hug and said, “Treasure the next four years of your life, little sister. These are the golden years. Spend your time wisely.”

At least that’s what I remember him saying. In real life, it wasn’t as flawless, Andrey.

 

Nevertheless, I have five more months to treasure undergrad and I’m happy to say that this far, my experience has been nothing short of amazing.

Knowing that my friends won’t be a door-knock away come June makes me incredibly sad. Not knowing if we will be able to stay in touch makes me anxious. However, we all have dreams to catch and time isn’t waiting for us. It’s only December, but three of my housemates have jobs lined up! Another might live on the West coast. My roommate is going to be a lawyer. I am about to buy tickets to travel the world for a month after graduation…

… and I’ve realized an incredibly important thing in my time here. Nobody knows what they’re doing, no matter how old they are. We’re all trying to figure this life out, one day at a time. There is no set time when every puzzle piece falls into place. It doesn’t matter if you’re 10, 20, 50, or 80.

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There is so much that we have left to do, and though I’m not ready to let go yet, I have 5 more months left. I’m going to make the best of my time here.

On Christmastime

I’m Jewish, and it’s nearly Christmas. It’s not just nearly Christmas, though. I’m Jewish, and it’s been Christmastime for the past month or so. Sorority houses and dorm rooms are covered in lights. People have switched from playing the same three Adele songs on repeat in the lounges in Brett Hall to the same three Christmas songs. Even Brower has gotten in on the action from the festive decorations to the constantly streaming Christmas radio station.

A week or so ago, I made a joke during dinner about how Christmas was following me or something equally dumb, and my friends protested that “Jingle Bell Rock,” which was the song that was playing in Brower at the time, was not a Christmas song. Apparently because “Jingle Bell Rock” never explicitly mentions anything about Christmas, Santa, or Jesus, it’s a “winter” song. I proceeded to receive a crash course on how lots of songs I, as an ignorant Jew, thought were about Christmas were really just about winter. I was told that I had chosen to think about winter songs as Christmas songs just because they were played constantly on the radio around Christmastime. Christmas and winter are totally separate.

At least for me, though, there very much is a Christmastime that fuses December (which for the most part isn’t even winter) with Christmas. It’s something I’ve found that most of my friends who have been raised Christian or even whose families celebrate a secular version of Christmas don’t totally understand. There’s an entire month every year that is entirely isolating. They’re able to recognize that Christmas is everywhere in full force, but when they get fed up with me making another joke about how I found the token Hanukkah whatever, I’m gifted with another lecture on why Christmas is an American holiday. Only fundamentalists and my parents celebrate it for religious reasons. Christmas isn’t Jesus’ birthday. You’re only uncomfortable because you’re letting yourself be. Christmas and religion are totally separate.

Being uncomfortable during Christmas is my fault. My friends who were raised Christian but no longer believe in religion aren’t uncomfortable during Christmas. My friends who were raised with a Christmas tree in their living rooms but no Jesus aren’t uncomfortable during Christmas. If everyone else is cool with it, I must be choosing to feel this way. When my friends in college ask me if I believed in Santa, I say yes. When they ask me if I felt bad that Santa never gave me presents, I say that I felt bad that other kids’ parents didn’t love them enough to give them presents themselves. That’s so funny. That’s such a clever comeback. It’s also not true. I never knew I should be ashamed that Santa didn’t visit me until I was taught to.

Buzzfeed released a video this week called “Jewish Kids Meet Santa For the First Time.”

Honestly, when I first read the title I didn’t think it was a bad idea. I assumed they recruited kids with wild personalities that would be adorable regardless of what theme video Buzzfeed shoved them into. Despite Buzzfeed’s typical line about how the results were entertaining, they actually really weren’t. Jewish kids met Santa, and they knew he was a guy in a suit. Jewish kids met Santa, and they didn’t really have anything to say to him. Jewish kids met Santa, and they should have what? They should have tearfully asked him why he never brings them presents? They should have punched him the face for pretending to be someone he’s not? They should have asked for his autograph because he’s famous? Jewish kids met Santa and sat uncomfortably on his lap while some adults who think they’re hilarious recorded them.

I want to make it very clear that I don’t hate Christmas. I don’t even hate Christmas spirit. I think it’s wonderful that there’s an entire month where people feel fuzzy and warm and want to spend time with their families. I respect that many people celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, and I also respect that many people celebrate it for secular ones. There’s so much love and light during Christmastime, and I definitely do not want to take that from anyone, but I also recognize that I’m not included in it. Jewish kids get their own video for meeting Santa because they’re not included in Christmastime, the entire month of it. It’s like there’s this giant month-long party, and we’re not invited. It’s not malicious or intentional, but it doesn’t stop the fact that the whole month I feel like I’m wearing a giant sign that says I’m different, and I don’t belong here. I don’t want people to stop following their traditions or to feel bad, but I would like permission to feel uncomfortable without it being my fault.

If you aren’t uncomfortable during Christmastime, it’s probably because you’re being very represented. The radio is playing songs written for people like you. Movies are premiering for people like you. Television networks are releasing special themed episodes for people like you. Hearing about people celebrating Hanukkah doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable because you’re not being surrounded by a culture that you aren’t a member of along with the suggestion that you should want to be. When I make jokes about specks of Jewish representation during the holiday season, it’s partially because I feel like I need to recognize that I exist during this month. It’s also partially because many people think those specks are more than enough, and they aren’t. Most of the time they don’t feel like welcome signs or invitations as much as dividers. This is your section. This is where you fit.

I was talking to one of my Jewish friends about the commercialization of Hanukkah, and she told me that if it hadn’t been commercialized she would have been miserable when she was younger. What would it be like to be a child surrounded by an “entirely American” and not at all religious holiday during which everyone else receives presents and you receive nothing? Of course there are religions and groups of people who are in that exact situation, and I won’t pretend to know what those children feel like. I will say, though, that I’m really glad to have had Hanukkah growing up and to still have it. It helps to have an identity when you feel out of place. This year, my mother sent me Snapchats of my family lighting the menorah every night of Hanukkah, during which they would break out in a terribly sung but incredibly enthusiastic rendition of “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah.” It was Christmastime, but at least it was still Hanukkah.

Make New Friends but Keep the Old

When I was in elementary school, maybe like first or second grade if I remember correctly, our choir teacher would have us sing a song about friendship during one of the seasonal concerts. The one phrase from that song that has stuck with me for all these years is: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” While gold is considered more valuable than silver, I do not believe that the song is trying to teach little kids that old friends are more valuable than new friends, or vice versa, but that they are both important. Like the precious elements silver and gold are, both should be treasured, just like both kinds of friends.

One of the best things about college is the exposure to many, many new people. Rutgers is fantastic in this regard because it is so diverse and is a place where everyone can feel like they belong. I have met many exceptional people during my five semesters here, and I treasure the meaningful friendships I have made.

Despite these new friends, I sometimes find myself missing my old friends and their warming familiarity. Social media easily helps people keep in touch, but it is not the same as having them by your side and being able to talk in person. Not counting the final papers I have due, I had only one final (that I had to go in for) on Tuesday. With that class out of the way, and only papers to think about, I irresponsibly allowed myself to take a break from academics and spend time with a couple of old friends who were back for the winter.

We did mundane things like going out to eat, driving to get gas, sitting on the couch watching Shark Tank, or seeing a movie in theaters. Last night, I went to the movies and my friend and I were the only two people in the theater. It was fantastic! We were able to voice our thoughts as the movie progressed and could laugh and holler as loud as we pleased. I value these simple moments just as much as something more exciting, like going to a concert. I believe that if you can have a good time doing something ordinary with someone, so good that other people think you’re crazy, then you have found a true friend.

The excitement level for how we spent our much-awaited reunion did not match up with the great elation we felt at finally being able to hang out again. Despite that, I find that dinner dates, car rides, and chilling are perfect ways to catch up after a semester.

As the countdown to winter break drew closer and closer to ending, my anticipation to see my high school friends increased. Now that I have seen a couple of them, I feel like my batteries have been recharged. Seeing great friends who are like siblings was refreshing and now motivates me to quickly finish the rest of my assignments so that I will be free to hang out again, as soon as possible.

I look forward to spending time with both high school and college friends over winter break, and I hope you do the same. And remember, make new friends but keep the old because one is silver and the other, gold.

The Importance of Arts Education

Art-Education-

Despite the fact that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) went through a reauthorization process by the Senate more than six months ago, one of my friends on Facebook recently shared an article about the decision, bringing the issue back to my attention. The ESEA has always included arts and music education in its core curriculum, a specific group of subjects required by the government for every child in public school. Through the reauthorization process, the Senate questioned the need for art and music education in elementary and secondary schools. In my opinion, the need these age groups have for these subjects is a no-brainer, but for certain educator and representatives questioning the act, art and music seem to be thought of as unimportant, even trivial.

During the reauthorization, “more than 14,000 letters were sent to Capitol Hill” (NAfME) and the final act (Every Child Achieves Act) includes arts and music education as part of the essential curriculum. I cannot agree more with the decision made by the Senate regarding these subjects. It is impossible to avoid the fact that education in the arts as a child, particularly in music, “changes the anatomy and function of the brain” in a way that lasts long into adulthood (JNuerosci). It is now a lot easier to appreciate the years of classical guitar lessons I suffered through as a child when I consider the long-term benefits I gained from reading music and playing an instrument.

Personally, the arts education I received in elementary and middle school had a much greater impact than the years I struggled through guitar lessons. The art teachers I had had encouraged creativity from myself and my fellow students, engaged our imaginations, and taught us how to focus and have patience with whatever painting, sculpture, or craft we were working on. All of these qualities are more than applicable to my current academic life. More importantly, I grew up with a great love and appreciation for art, and I still enjoy visiting museums and working on my own art from time to time. My exploration in all different medias of art started in middle school and lasted until I graduated, allowing me to become more aware of myself as an artist and a person. During my senior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to have four periods of class a day in the art room, working away at some drawing or painting. Art became an important part of my life for dealing with stress in a healthy and expressive way, and I owe this to the art education I received from the very beginning of my schooling.

In addition to spending so many hours in the art room working on my own skills during my last year of high school, I was given the opportunity to intern in the art education program at the same elementary school I attended. During my time there, I experienced the important effect art can have on elementary school-aged children from a completely new and different perspective. The kids would light up as they entered the art room and saw paints, or glue, or rainbow paper carefully set up at their desks. For them, art class was a much needed break in their otherwise strenuous schedules. Working with the kids allowed me to see their creativity, imaginations, and patience all develop through art in the same way mine did so many years ago.

Art and music education have played such important roles in my own life, and continue to do so in the lives of many others. I struggle to imagine a world where knowledge in these subjects is seen by all as insignificant and unnecessary, and thankfully, because of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Every Student Achieves Act that were passed last summer, I don’t have to.

Sources:

https://www.nafme.org/senate-passes-every-child-achieves-act-with-music-and-arts-as-core-subjects-in-tact/

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/34/11507.short

Stressed?

Ah, Thanksgiving break! A time for catching up with friends and family as the aromatic scents of turkey and stuffing fill the house! A time for taking a well-deserved break from the stressful midterms and papers that make up life at Rutgers University. It all seems great until your sobering realization on Sunday that there are only fifteen days until finals start. Fifteen! Suddenly, the four papers you have to write, the class blog posts you have to catch up on, and the three more books you have to read before final exams even actually start seem a lot more intimidating than they did last Wednesday. But fear not! There are so many ways to de-stress, and it just takes a little bit of exploring to discover what the best method for personal relaxation is for you.

1. Exercise

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When I’ve been sitting at a computer, typing away at the same word document for hours and attempting to reach what still seems like an impossibly far off word limit, I stop everything, throw on some gym clothes, and get outside! The physical motion of my feet hitting the pavement over and over again clears my mind and helps me relax. However, just because running is my exercise and de-stressor of choice doesn’t mean it has to be everybody’s. It doesn’t matter if you take a break for swimming, yoga, weightlifting, or just to take a walk, as long as you get up and get moving!

2. Paint (Or write, or draw, or take pictures…. whatever!)

Another thing I love to do to take a break from whatever it is that is stressing me out is to create something! I love to paint and draw, and took a lot of art classes in high school, so sometimes taking a brush to paper is the only thing that will calm me. You can write a poem, take a photograph, bake a delicious treat, you choose! Whatever it is, if you let your creative juices flow, you will most likely feel less stressed and better in the long run!

3. Take a nap

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Just because you have a never-ending to do list doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sleep! Sometimes if you’re overwhelmed, the best thing to do is to take a 20-30 minute nap. It’s hard to get things done, especially done well, if you don’t have a sufficient amount of sleep. A short power nap will leave you feeling refreshed, and significantly less stressed than before. In the end, your studying will be more efficient after the nap than if you had just used that time to attempt to study. Just be sure to set a loud alarm so that you actually get up and get your work done!

As finals approach, it is important to remember that your physical and mental well-being matters much more than the numbers that make up your GPA. It may not always feel like this is the case, but your personal health is more important than any paper or exam. If you are feeling overwhelmed to the point that simple suggestions such as these no longer relieve you of stress, make sure you have someone to talk to as you go through these last few weeks. But most of all, be sure to believe in yourself, your intelligence, and your ability to kick these last few weeks’ butt!