Kate,

I’ve never been good in the homestretch. You know how some people can pull it together in the last few weeks of the semester and really kick it into gear? Yeah, well I am definitely not one of them. In fact, I’m the opposite. I start off each semester all bright-eyed and focused and by the end I’m barely hanging on to my motivation/sanity. Remember those carefree days at Quackers Pre-School? It's crazy how far we've come. 

Last week I had two exams, this week I have two papers...and then there’s the stories I have for the paper, the internship decisions I need to make, the scholarships I still haven’t secured, the housing in Ireland I need to figure out – I’m just a little stressed if you haven’t noticed.

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, but then I remember that I know how to swim.

Stress in college can be all-consuming, especially because it often comes in waves where everyone on campus goes from a level 3 to a level 99 at the same time. It’s almost always towards the end of the semester and it is never pretty.

What I have found most helpful in managing stress is separating things I can and cannot control. I can control how much I study for an exam but I cannot control how the professor is going to grade it, hence once I turn it in I need to turn my stress over it off. Trust me, I know it’s much easier said than done, and I rarely take my own advice.

I also like making lists of things I need to do. I find it super helpful to go down to very individual tasks (like instead of “write paper” I will have “for research paper: research, outline, check citations, write part 1, write part 2, edit once, edit twice, submit to Moodle, print”). Breaking things down into bite-sized pieces not only makes everything seem more manageable, but there is also a lot to be said about the instant gratification of checking something off and the more tasks, the more checks.

It makes me feel more productive and more in control – whatever gets you the A, right?

I know you have AP exams, a trip to Spain (you fly out today, don’t you?), and Senior Week coming up – you’ve got just as much to stress about! Just remember, you know how to swim too.

I miss you.

Talk to you soon,

Marie 

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