It’s the night before the summative is due – we’ve all been there before. Too scared to face your fears, you spent most of the day guiltily watching Netflix and online shopping for the next formal. Now it’s 4am, you’re barely alive with probably your 7th coffee in the last 3 hours, and you’re waffling on about something you don’t even remember learning about. In other words – you’re screwed. Whilst some of us are lucky enough to be able to work under pressure, others aren’t. Either way, you will 100% at some point during your summative feel the thought-consuming, spot-inducing emotion called STRESS. If you don’t, then you’re some kind of superfreak and we all hate you for it. So, if you want to minimise stress as much as possible during the summative process (because let’s be real you can’t have summative without stress), then follow these helpful little tips:
- START YOUR SUMMATIVE EARLY – I cannot stress this enough (excuse the pun). If you want to give yourself the best chance of doing well and actually, you know, have readings to reference, then instead of thinking you have plenty of time when in reality you have less than a week, actually set a date in your diary and make sure you start on that date. The earlier you start, the earlier you finish.
- DON’T THINK, JUST DO – for me, the mentality of actually starting a summative is the hardest thing. I stress about stress, agonize about how long it will take me, worry it won’t go to plan etc. etc. But why would I think this when I’m going to have to go ahead and do it anyway? The best thing to do is to not allow any negative thoughts into your mind and to just do it.
- DUO IS YOUR FRIEND – I know what you fellow Duo users are thinking – no it’s not. But trust me, it is. For most subjects that I am aware, the lectures are uploaded there which can give you a good starting point for your summative. In the handbook you can find tips on writing essays/commentaries also, and the online library search engine is great for finding readings that you don’t actually have to take out from the library because who can be asked for that, really. If you need to, there are your lecturer’s contact details to ask for help.
- FIND YOUR ZEN ZONE – The Billy B – a temple of knowledge which some students value more than their own homes. In the Billy B, you know that everyone else is probably doing a summative like you, you know that everyone else is having as much fun as you (which is none at all), so here you’re all equally sad students and that for some reason stresses you out less. There are few, however, that stress at the mere thought of having to enter such a multitude of students and not be able to find a seat. These, will find their zen zone elsewhere.
- TAKE BREAKS – We all know that we need breaks in order to have a healthy relationship with our work. So, get yourself a snack, listen to some tunes – whatever you do to ensure your work is productive. Just don’t let that 5-minute break turn into 3 hours.
- YOU’RE GOING OUT?! DON’T YOU HAVE A SUMMATIVE TO WRITE? In my opinion, you should still engage in the social part of your life if you think you can manage it, because it’s important to give yourself rewards and maintain a healthy work-social balance. Of course this doesn’t have to be going out – my advice would be sports which is great for refocusing your mind, going out for some food with a friend, attending the societies you normally attend, or just having a chat with your flatmates.
- FOOD – I mean, it’s food! Enough said.
These are just some of the ways to help cope with that summative stress. If you do get so stressed to the point of ‘I can’t do this anymore’, just know to have a little faith in yourself, to take it step by step, and to remember that it isn’t the be all and end all in the grand scheme of things.
Good luck to everyone with summatives!