Coming back to campus after a long and restful winter break spent with family and friends can stir some anxious feelings in the minds of students. It may seem daunting to think about jumping back into the academic world of exams and deadlines. Luckily, the start of a new semester provides the perfect opportunity for students to reevaluate their studying approaches and consider adopting new methods. I have compiled a list of some of my most used strategies for battling academic anxiety. 

If you feel like your method of studying has become ineffectual, it may be time to branch out and test out some new strategies. Experts in education have recommended retrieval and chunking as two effective and practical styles of retaining information. Retrieval involves recalling information that you previously learned by bringing it back into your mind. This is in contrast to cramming which can increase panic and lower long-term comprehension. Retrieval can enhance your ability to retain information by reinforcing connections between your memory and material. “Chunking” is preferable if you need to retain information in your short-term memory. It incorporates separating information from larger groups into smaller, more manageable sections. This studying approach can be beneficial for improving your synthesizing capabilities since it allows a student to break down concepts into smaller groups. 

It can be easy to become so wrapped up in studies that you neglect to participate in activities that are purely for enjoyment purposes. After all, the hallmark Fairfield traditions contribute so much to what being a Stag is all about. Thinking about the exciting activities that you are going to take part in such as attending a basketball game at the Leo D. Mahoney Arena can also offer a source of motivation during grueling work weeks. Being able to look forward to an event can also help make a demanding week go by faster. 

Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Practicing yoga can encourage your brain to release endorphins that boost your overall mood and help lessen stress levels. The RecPlex offers weekly yoga classes among its other extensive fitness offerings. Think about attending a yoga class to take a break from academics while simultaneously working to alleviate anxiety. 

Whether it’s thinking about long-term goals such as graduation, or an exciting summer internship, it can be helpful to keep sight of the end goal. Sometimes it can seem monotonous to go each week, committing countless hours to complete tedious assignments. To combat this feeling of tedium, it can be auspicious to consider the bigger picture and your future achievements. 

Taking purposeful breaks to recharge can increase productivity since you return to your work feeling refreshed and ready to concentrate. Using a timer to manage and track your breaks can be helpful since it keeps you on schedule. The Pomodaro method is a studying technique that emphasizes time management. The method incorporates completing 25-minute focused intervals of work. After completing 25 minutes of work, you then allocate a five-minute break. This process is repeated three times before taking a 30-minute break and starting the cycle again. This strategy can effectively increase accountability for staying on task while also making assignments seem less daunting.

The winter months of the spring semester can appear bleak with periods of bitter coldness and long hours spent studying demanding material. Taking time to look ahead to the warmer sunshine-filled days of studying in the quad on the picnic tables or taking a stroll next to The Sound can provide a source of encouragement. Remember to keep everything in perspective and avail yourself of all of the comprehensive resources for academic success that Fairfield provides. Good luck, Stags! 

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