I was traveling for my interview from Thursday to Saturday. I got a total of 9 hours of sleep while traveling, including 3 hours of sleep before my interview. Now I’m trying to study for 3 tests (cell bio, immunology, and biotech) on Tuesday, while fending off all the people who love me and are all texting/calling to ask about the interview. On SuperBowl Sunday. While planning a friend’s birthday soiree on Tuesday. ACH.
What really helps me when I feel super unmotivated and stressed is to
make a list of all I have to do:
— read thru all immunology pwpts
— read thru all cell bio pwpts
— rough draft of biotech essays
email everyone about roomie’s birthday –> delegate delegate delegate
email interviewers thank you
listen to cousin’s emergency phone call (she also respected my time and kept it super short!)—
Let anyone who contacts me know that I am a bit short of patience as I am super stressed out, and it has nothing to do with how much I love them. And I will call them back when I can give them my full attention.
Get the easy stuff out of the way, but don’t use that as an excuse to procrastinate! I moved all other to-do’s to Wednesday after my tests.
Then I break down what I have to do into the teensiest of steps.
0) Set a timeblock for studying. Such as: Follow the above steps for the next 20 minutes. (20 minutes being the timeblock here)
1) Open powerpoint that I WANT to study.
2) Congratulate self profusely.
3) Read 10 slides.
4) Allowed to take a break. (SET A LIMIT…5 minutes. One push up. Run in place like a madwoman. Read an article as fast as I can.)
5) 10 more slides.
6) Repeat ad nauseum.
If it’s a subject I really like, I can extend my teeny steps (ie: Read through half powerpoint, then take a break). Chances are I’ll get sucked into studying because it’s interesting and I’m trying to make sense of it all.
If it’s a subject I really hate, well…teeny steps and a larger timeblock. Or smaller timeblocks but multiple times a day.
Other hints and things to consider:
– No matter how much you don’t believe it, pep talk yourself! “Just do that first teeny little step. How hard can it be? Not hard at all! Easy peasy! You got this! WHO’S THE BOMB? YOU ARE!!!”
– Think about stressors in a positive light: “WOW I am so happy I get to study x (for me, immunology. It’s so cool!). Thank you Lord that so many people care about me! I’m so blessed! Superbowl will be a nice relaxing thing to watch, and it’ll motivate me to study before the game!”
– Try your best NOT to think about all you have to do. Since you have it written down in your list, you won’t forget it. Time is linear, so you have to do one thing at a time anyways. What helps me is having a scrap of paper and writing ALL unrelated-to-current-study-material thoughts down. Today mine went like this: “freaked out – so much to do. what’s for dinner? salsa, guac, corn, tortilla, beans, cheese. superbowl?” etc. I am less stressed/worried that I’ll forget an important thought and don’t have to keep thinking about it. Thus leaving room to focus on study materials.
– Get rid of distractions. My phone going off, the TV, and roomies coming into the door all distract me, and when I continuously lose my train of thought, studying becomes really frustrating and hard. So turn off your phone and TV, and put a sign on your door– mine says: “Hey! I am painfully busy right now, so can we talk later? If you have an emergency, please just come on in!” I hate acting irritably and meanly to people. But with stress, I inevitably get desperately irritable at whomever, and feel horrible when I finally burst out with: “I’MREALLYBUSYCANWETALKLATER.” Even when I say it as politely as I can, I can hear the edge in my voice. So the preemptive note makes me feel good, and I don’t have to worry about making anyone sad.
– If you get extremely stressed and panicked, repeat after me: This is just a test. In five years, I will literally not remember or care about this moment. No matter what, test time will come and then I’ll be free and happy afterwards. One grade does NOT determine my self worth.
I’ve found that all I usually need to do is actually start. Get your pep talk on, turn stuff off, and just do it!