Tips to Make it Out of Finals Alive (On the Inside, As Well!)

Stress-beating tips from someone who isn’t qualified to give tips about stress-beating

DISCLAIMER: This is me reminding you that I don’t have a degree in medicine and/or psychology (yet)- just lots of advice that has worked for people I know.

(I’ll try to leave out the obvious ones.  I mean, everyone knows you should eat right and sleep enough.)

 

So… It’s officially that time of the year again. You know the one. The one where the sun sets at 4 pm and the only thing looking darker than the sky is your future. Yup, it’s finals season. Joy. Well, I don’t know about you guys, but being a procrastinator and/or a perfectionist especially sucks this time of the year. From a certified perfectionist, here are a few tips about \ beating the stress. I know they work because I haven’t used most of them and I’m always stressed, so:

1. SLEEP WHENEVER YOU WANT.

Seriously. As long as you’re getting 6+ hours, it doesn’t matter if you go to bed at 4 am or 11 pm. As long as you’re not missing anything important (and most important things end before reading period), you can sleep into the day. Setting hard deadlines on a night will only stress you out- besides, no one else gets to tell you when you should be most productive. TIME IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT.

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A recap of the State of Brown address

Last night, the third annual State of Brown address was co-hosted by UCS and President Christina Paxson, P’19. The event began with UCS President Maahika Srinivasan ’15 delivering a summary of projects undertaken by UCS this year. Paxson followed with a speech on her own major concerns for the university, noting that she could not give “a comprehensive list of everything that happened this year — it’s a lot, you know that — and the issues we’ve been dealing with aren’t just at Brown, they’re everywhere.” Much of the Q&A section of the event focused on the topics that have been of great concern to the student body and administration this year, including mental health resources, changing the university’s sexual assault and harassment policies, and diversity issues. 

What does UCS do?

Srinivasan began by noting that many students might wonder the above from time to time and she appreciated having State of Brown to clarify their role.

A major goal for UCS this year was to increase support for student advocacy, allowing student activists to either voice concerns to the administration through UCS or push for conversations where they could express themselves directly. To this end, they worked with the Student Labor Alliance regarding the protests for rights of university mailroom workers earlier this year, and they worked with students from the Imagine Rape 0 protests on communicating with the administration.

This year UCS has launched several important online initiatives; wtf*brown (beloved here at Blog) allows students to post and vote on suggestions for the university, and more recently their Textbook Exchange has created an online platform to buy and sell used textbooks, tagged by the class they are for.

UCS has also worked with ResLife to abolish the suite fee for all students; while this year the fee was decreased, they hope to see it gone in the coming years.

The future of Brown academics

President Paxson noted that State of Brown allowed her to answer the question “Where is Brown going?” for the student body, half of which had not matriculated when her Strategic Plan was released two years ago. To that end, she started with a briefing on some of the points of progress on said plan. Her desire is to move Brown’s open curriculum into the 21st century, using technology to embrace the unique cross-departmental education initiatives that Brown offers. An Engaged Scholars Program piloted this year in which students to engage with five departments, and integrate off-campus work into their education. Paxson also expressed desire to “blast away” large lecture classes, envisioning a Brown which uses technology to ensure that the university only offers small, intimate courses.

Diversity in Brown faculty

Paxson stated that the lack of diversity in our faculty posed a major problem for the university. Currently, only about 8.5% of Brown faculty is of unrepresented minorities, which Paxson acknowledged “just doesn’t reflect our student population.” Paxson stated she wanted to double this number in the next ten years; although 16% still sounds low, “it’s going to take a lot of work to do it.” The university has also started a diversity post-doc program, and will be making an effort to focus more on doctoral education in the next few years.

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Happy@Brown: Active Minds and “Smile Like You Mean It”

Wilson Hall

It’s cited in brochures, quoted in tours, and remains a point of pride for many here on College Hill. We all know Brown is the happiest school in America…or is it?

Despite the much-touted 2009 Princeton Review rankings, mental health and the perceived inadequacy of the university’s mental health support system have become some of the more pressing issues on campus in the past couple years. Depression-related deaths among members of the student body and a general dialogue on the issue have all served to increase debate and conversation on what both students and the administration can do to foster a more open, supportive environment for those suffering from difficulties with mental health.

Some students are particularly committed. Active Minds, a student organization focused on the promotion of open dialogue on mental health issues at Brown, recently held “Smile Like You Mean It: On Pretending to be Okay” in an effort to combat much of the stigma surrounding discussion of psychological issues on campus. The workshop, held on February 19th in Wilson, drew a crowd of students who engaged in a conversation on mental issues at college and particularly at Brown. The topic of the workshop centered around the problems and paradoxes of attempting to appear happy while struggling internally with depression and other psychological difficulties.

In addition to Active Minds organizers, students, cookies, and pizza, also in attendance was Dr. Judith Welch, a representative from Counseling and Psychological Services at University Health Services.

The major takeaway from the workshop? If you’re struggling with mental health issues, you’re not alone! While Brown may have some room to improve in how it supports students suffering from psychological distress, there are resources at your disposal–CAPS, Active Minds, and, while it might not be immediately apparent, more of your peers than you probably realize. Don’t ever hesitate to seek out help, whether you utilize one of these resources or all three.

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