It's that dreadful time of year again.
For high school and college students alike, AP exams and finals are just around the corner, which can only mean one thing: more stress for everyone. As schools all over the nation begin to wrap up their years, students and educators are going to be pushed to their breaking points. And with the onset of gentle breezes, clear skies, and comfortable temperatures, motivation to study has never been so low. In fact, I don't even know why I'm here writing, I'd much rather be outside tossing a frisbee with my friends! I'll just load up on coffee and finish writing at midnight!
Unfortunately, many students have this mentality and they want to cram as many things as they can into their already busy schedules. The workload from school is already tough for many to begin with, and by adding time-consuming sports, extracurriculars, and social activities to our daily lives, we forget to make time for one of our most basic needs: sleep.
Now, let me make myself clear, I'm not speaking out against sports or spending time with friends or enjoying the weather. Do whatever you want in your free time! It's your life and I'm not trying to control it.
On the other hand, I will also make it clear that I am strongly opposed to the idea of jamming so many activities into your daily schedule that it causes you to lose precious hours of sleep. At this critical point of the school year, it is easy to lose track of time, or get distracted, which inevitably leads to a loss of sleep. This loss of sleep is one of many factors that eventually leads to heightened levels of anxiety and stress. And by trying to be more "productive" by sacrificing several hours of sleep, we actually become less productive. Our minds become impaired, and our judgement becomes clouded; we literally do not have the energy to do what we want.
In the next few weeks, many people will be needing to perform well, so sleep is especially important, but how are they going to manage getting enough sleep when they are too busy trying to be a part of everything around them?
For both students and adults, it will come down to staying on task. This may mean putting your beloved phone down for a couple hours. So many people have a tendency to waste a lot of time on their phones, either texting, checking social media, or browsing the internet. People need to focus on their priorities, rather than focusing on something that won't help them in the long run. A method I use to fight my phone addiction is putting my phone in another room and completely focusing for an hour straight. At the end of the hour, I'll take a break and check my phone for a few minutes, and then go back to working. This enables me to work efficiently, and gives my mind frequent breaks, allowing me to achieve my maximum productivity.
Another problem that causes a lot of anxiety is procrastination. During crucial moments, procrastination is very common and it often leads to cramming the night before a big test. Sure, some people may learn better when pulling all nighters, but their health is going to take a major hit. This may sound redundant, but the easiest way to combat procrastination is to get ready ahead of time. Instead of waiting until the last moment to get ready, start working towards your goal ahead of time. You have your vision of success, and you can use that as motivation to get things done. And if you find yourself trying to study for an AP exam the night before, it's definitely a better decision to get some rest instead of trying to teach yourself an entire year's worth of material in one night. Either way, procrastination will ensure that you take the "L."
Even in stressful times like these, it is critical that we rest our bodies. Humans are so ambitious; we all have our personal goals, some bigger than others, and when things come down to the wire, we quickly become stressed and start losing sleep. But we need to realize that sleep plays a huge role in our productivity, and is a major key to a successful future. I strongly encourage all of you to get a good night's sleep, otherwise sleep deprivation may just strip you of your sanity, and turn you into an anxious sociopath.