Caution: You Are Entering a Stress-Free Zone

By Elsa Ochsner

At a recent writing center staff meeting, we discussed ways to combat stress as writing center consultants and as students. With just a few weeks of school remaining, it’s important to remain levelheaded and organized to successfully finish out this semester. The upcoming onslaught of term papers and finals means that students need to take a little time to relax and prioritize. If you have an appointment at the writing center, you’ve already taken one step towards a more stress-free life.

Here are some ways for consultants and tutees to make the most of appointments:

  • Sit on a blue stability ball during your appointment. It’s so much more fun than a boring office chair! But then again, some of us are gravitationally challenged (if you’re one of these, don’t try balancing on a stability ball for 30 minutes).
  • Have a conversation about your writing. Consultants are sounding boards for everything writing related. If you need to talk about school and life for 5-10 minutes of the appointment—that’s fine!
  • Find a whiteboard or a large piece of paper. Now start brainstorming! It can help to get all of your ideas down on paper before you start writing because this makes it easier to organize your thoughts.
  • Set an agenda for everything that needs to get done during the appointment. Didn’t get everything done? Set post-appointment goals together.
  • Ask for a writing center button for your backpack. Pin it to your backpack, and tell your friends about how cool the writing center really is. (Pro tip: the writing center is very cool!)

One of my favorite aspects of working at the writing center is that no two appointments are the same. With collaboration on the part of students and peer tutors, we can work together to make each appointment a helpful, memorable, and stress-free experience for everyone involved.

The writing center isn’t the only place where there should be a stress-free environment. With just a few easy steps, you can create the ultimate study zone for the busiest time of the semester.

  • Prioritize your assignments, papers, and study time to make the most of homework time. Laying out your study schedule ahead of time leads to less procrastination and less stress.
  • Create an instrumental playlist that keeps you motivated or check out 8tracks, Pandora, and Spotify to get those synaptic neurons going.
  • Have writer’s block or chemistry equations that just aren’t making sense? Take a short walk outside to clear you head.
  • Sugar is your friend. As long as you don’t have any dietary restrictions that inhibit your sugar intake, keep chocolate or other sweets in your backpack for emergency pick-me-ups throughout the day.
  • Balance any caffeine intake with water and food to balance out the ill effects of too much caffeine.
  • Remove all distractions. Put your cell phone on silent when you go to study and sign out of your Facebook for the day.

Good luck with the rest of the semester! Looking forward to seeing you at the writing center!

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