Advice Column 4/09/2021

I’m nervous for exam week and I’m not really good at studying. I was wondering if you had any good tips or advice for what I can do to prepare?
Dear Anon,
I’m glad you asked this question, especially at a time where the stress of upcoming exams is on it’s way. It’s great that you are actively seeking out helpful tips to better prepare yourself for what lies ahead because it can often catch you off guard when all the due dates and exams sneak up on you at once. Thankfully, there’s a few ways to help.
Create a balanced plan of attack for the coming weeks. Writing it down in an event planner or a white board may seem cliche, but it can mean everything when you are organized and prepared for what you have already completed and what you need to do in the future. Also, crossing out the completed assignments and studied topics, rather than erasing them, is a great way to keep yourself motivated. It helps to see what you’ve done and how far you’ve come and can be the very thing that keeps you going.
In terms of studying, highlighting works for some, but oftentimes highlighting in your textbook can be overwhelming and annoying when you are trying to focus. Instead, use sticky notes or write the most important things in your own handwriting to remember it better. That way, you have something new to look at instead of the repetition of the same textbook you’ve been using since the beginning of the semester.
You’ll also hear this time and time again, but sleep is crucial to having a stable and prepared mind for your exams. It’s easy to get lost in the all-nighters and late coffee breaks, but avoiding napping throughout the day can immensely help in remembering what you’ve studied the night before. 
Reach out to your instructors if you’re having difficulty keeping up with the end of the year workload and keep in mind that stress is normal. Treat yourself right, stick to a routine of well-balanced organization and you’ll be all set for the last few weeks of this semester. You’re almost out of the water, don’t give up yet.
Good luck on your exams,
The Blue Banner
I am so, so overwhelmed it’s not even funny. I don’t know what to do to get myself out of this hole? -Anon
Dear Anon,
Unfortunately, this is a common problem for most college students, especially with everything going on with the pandemic and how it is affecting the mental health of everyone on campus. The 2013 National College Health Assessment reported that 46.3 percent of college students feel overwhelmed at some point by academic responsibilities, relationships or stress from all of the above. Even if we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel, there’s bound to be an abundance of stress in the air and I have a few things you can actively do to dig yourself out of that hole.
In the event that your home is reliable for comfort, call them. Let your family and friends know how you are feeling and if you need to go home for a few days, it can always be arranged. I find that going home on a weekend can boost the energy that had previously diminished from the past week and being in the company of familiar faces will always help ease your stress. 
With that being said, stick to your friends who are in Asheville as well. Trust that those you know will be there for you in your darkest moments and plan adventures you can take to get away from the stress of everything. Even a single planned movie night with friends can mean all the world when you are in the process of being overwhelmed. 
Lastly, remember to breathe. Schoolwork is important, but your mental health is more important than risking it all for the sake of turning an assignment in. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let your professors know that you are having a hard time with an assignment and ask for help if needed. Things will work out for your benefit at the end of the day and taking breathing breaks can be the very thing that helps you realize that. Don’t look forward too far ahead and just allow yourself the moments you have now to focus on what is possible currently. 
Best of luck in your future and don’t forget to breathe,
The Blue Banner,2013%20National%20College%20Health%20Assessment.
I know there’s a bunch of stuff to do on campus with the good weather but I don’t have any ideas while staying COVID safe. Help? -Anon
Dear Anon,
It’s great that you want to stay physically and mentally safe and exploring new ways to interact with recreation on campus is the perfect way to do so. The end of the semester thrives on one’s ability to maintain a good composure and keeping healthy regardless of how stressful things can get as well as being able to go out into the warm weather and enjoy yourself is important. As a campus filled to the brim with opportunities, there’s a few options for you to participate in.
I asked Alex Pritchard, a student health ambassador who has had her fair share of recreational activities at UNC Asheville, what she recommended you do for fun. 
“Getting outside for a bike ride, walk, hike or a cookout with members of your COVID pod are good ways to enjoy the warmer weather. Doing things outside means there’s more air circulation, which is better for preventing the spread of COVID,” Pritchard said. 
Her point about making sure you’re outside also allows for better opportunities to get a little sun with the warm weather continuously approaching. 
I also asked the same question from Lydia Page, a student who frequently exercises and works in the Sherrill Center. 
“Well, people can do a lot, as long as they follow some guidelines. Intramural does a collaboration with Outdoor Programs to have a campfire and some games every now and again,” Page said. Participants interested in registering for Intramural Sports may go about doing so through the UNCA website, which also contains listed events, in order, to sign up for. 
There are quite a few ways to get involved with recreation on campus and with the rapidly approaching warm weather, now is the perfect time to get started.
I wish you the best in your search for activities,
The Blue Banner