Essay and paper season is upon us at Laurier Brantford. Thus, stress is in no short supply, and as temporary and innocuous as this may sound, letting it get to you could lead to serious consequences. One need look no further than student suicide, dropout and depression rates to understand the gravity of stress. Luckily, many Laurier students have found creative ways to deal with the pressure.

Cody Lee, a Laurier Brantford student, talks about one fun and unique approach to memorization that he and his friends take, when trying to learn without feeling overwhelmed.

“We rewrite the lyrics to our favourite songs with the information that we need to study for our classes and then we sing it out loud to each other,” he explains. “It helps us remember information on the test so when we can’t remember for some reason, we just hum out the tune in our heads and it helps.”

Selkirk College’s official web page of study tips echoes this technique, pointing to the fact that repetition and using different auditory forms (singing) can actually create a stronger association in the student mind to the work they’re doing.

Carla Egesi, another student, talks a bit about her strategy for staying awake and staying sane.

“I load up on caffeine and listen to heavy metal music,” she says. “The combination makes me temporarily antisocial and oddly motivated to do well.”

Although caffeine isn’t recommended in large doses, Science Daily reports that at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, officials discovered that listening to music prompts the brain to pay attention. Peak brain activity occurs during the short breaks in each composition.

Amanda Myles has a fresh idea for those who simply need a break.

“Exercise is a great outlet for the pent up energy and it helps me think more clearly when I sit down to do my work,” she says. “It’s pretty rare that a person can sit down for hours and not get antsy and distracted. Taking short little breaks and getting a bit of exercise, or fresh air, really helps me clear my head and focus.”

There is much evidence that exercise does wonders for not only your muscles and your heart, but also your brain. The journal Trends and Neurosciences reports that physical activity can actually improve memory and learning skills in both humans and animals.

Of course, there are always the old standbys, like asking for extensions if you need them or mapping out your assignments very clearly beforehand, but remember that being innovative certainly isn’t forbidden. Just because it’s essay-writing season doesn’t mean life can’t continue being fun and pleasurable.

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