A recipe for survival

As I’m sure you’ve read, this week is Dead Week. One thing I try to do in my posts is to approach the same subject from a different angle. During last semester’s Dead Week, I talked about how to turn Dead Week into “Fun Week”.

However, for this semester’s Dead Week post I want to break down what Dead Week at Hanover College actually means (it’s different at Hanover from other schools, and I also didn’t know Dead Week existed when I was in high school), and how to build your very own survival kit to not only survive Dead Week, but beat it mercilessly into the ground.

So, what is Dead Week at Hanover College? In the most general terms, it is the week before finals week. At a lot of other colleges’ Dead Week entails no homework, papers, exams or sometimes even attendance. That’s not the case at Hanover. At Hanover, attendance is still required, papers are still due, and exams can still be held.

At this point, I’m sure you’re thinking the other schools are sounding better than Hanover, but rest assured, that most of the professors tend to give Dead Week the respect it deserves by not spending the week reviewing and by not testing/assigning.

There are a lot of different tips and tricks out there to beat Dead Week depression and anxiety. For example, Hanover actually hosts different Rest, Relax, and Revive events for students. Don’t get me wrong these events are great, but I still think every student needs their own recipe for Dead Week survival.

Ingredient #1: A quiet place
First and foremost you need a place to study and get your Dead Week work done, because survival the week entails success. I just like to put on my over-the-ear headphones (with no music) and study in my room.

Ingredient #2: A rewards system
When you complete a paper, assignment, lab or significant milestone, you need some sort of short reward/break before delving back into that stack of work. I like to scroll through Facebook, drink some Hawaiian Punch or watch some YouTube videos.

Ultimate Frisbee is one of my favorite physical outlets (also, note the fun socks).
Ultimate Frisbee is one of my favorite physical outlets (also, note the fun socks).

Ingredient #3: A timed outlet
This is what I consider the most important ingredient. There are times when you are working on something and just aren’t getting anywhere. Maybe you are writing and re-writing a draft of paper and just can’t get it right. Or maybe you have lost track of the time and are slipping into that kind of mind-numbing state where you forget what you’re even supposed to be doing.

The cure is to have a far-off (two to three hours) marker where when you hit that time you drop what you’re doing and do something social, physical or relaxing.

I like to time my study sessions so that I hit my marker time at the same time as Ultimate Frisbee practice or IM floor hockey. I have found that physical exertion is the best way for me to get my mind of my workload.

However, I know a lot of people have success and fun just hanging out with friends for a while or heck, just watching “Friends” (the sitcom — I do pride myself in my wordplay).

These ingredients are just starter ideas for you to develop your own survival strategy for beating Dead Week or any other stressful period of time, so feel free to tweak it or even create an entirely new strategy.

The important thing is that you have a strategy. Time speeds up and slows down in weird places during Dead Week, and the only way to be prepared for such time changes is to actually prepare for them.

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