Exams: A guide to avoiding emotional death

Conversations revolve around answers gotten in math papers. Tea time is spent discussing possible essay questions for that English exam. Nightlife refers to nothing more than pulling an all-nighter at the library. Trash cans are overflowing with takeaway coffee cups and empty energy drinks. You take naps while yawning because sleeping is a luxury you know no more.
Does this sound familiar? If so, we are now friends. Allies, drawn together by our mutual circumstances: the undeniable truth that exams are upon us.
If, like me, your procrastination level is at Buzzfeed-quiz “What career should your cat actually have?”, you might just as well stop trying to fool yourself. Thinking and worrying yourself into a negative mindset about studying and passing and graduating and having a future and not disappointing those who have come before you (such as Leslie Knope, The Great) will get you nowhere.
Rather take a well-deserved break from time to time to remind yourself that a life exists beyond your Psychology-textbooks. Set some time apart once a day to do something completely unrelated to academics and when you have finished doing so, you can continue to power-work. Don’t get me wrong: put your books first (listen to Nicki Minaj). Stay in school, kids.

Take a hike.
This one probably depends greatly on where you live and/or study, but should you be so privileged to have a mountain nearby – take a hike up it. Stellenbosch is blessed with a beautiful mountain/hill/steeper-than-usual road, fully equipped with the type of surroundings to create the illusion that you have been walking for hours and hours in a wild Australian nature-ish forest. Also, you can take some towels and sunscreen and work on your summer-tan next to the luxurious dam.

Have a resting beach day.
If you can afford to take more than a few hours off studying and the weather is in your favour, go to the beach to swim and relax. If you go to Strand-beach, you are absolutely obliged to buy an ice cream from that bicycle driving up and down the shore, or to get yourself a lekker draairoomys at the cafe across the harbour. And of course – did you really go the beach if you don’t have an Instagram-picture to prove it?

Another ice cream-related break.
This will only take half an hour of your time. If you are in desperate need of some fresh air and any sight other than that of your books, recruit some friends and go to the nearest ice cream parlour to relieve some of that exam stress. An idea: take a walk to Dorp Street to explore the (large) variety of ice cream sources. Your regrets will be approximately none.

Bread. That’s all. Eat bread.
It has been scientifically proven that bread possesses the magical powers needed to cure any and all problems you may encounter. Visit Schoon de Companje (located in Stellenbosch) to recharge your deprived-by-joy-because-of-studying body by indulging in their freshly baked farm style bread.

Have a picnic (or at least coffee).
Buy some picnic-worthy snacks and head over to the Botanical Gardens or whatever equivalent you may find to eat your sorrows away, lie on the grass and stare dreamingly and the blue cloudless sky in a way that would make for an ascetically-pleasing Tumblr-picture. The fresh air will do wonders and will help you keep intact with your inner earth-child.

Have a (peaceful) night out.
Again, if you can afford to take the night off, consult the food specials chart applicable for your area and choose a nice restaurant to dine at. Stick to the rule of not talking about anything work-related while you are out. Rumour has it that Aandklas (in Stellenbosch) has a weekly quiz night on Thursdays at which prizes in the form of bar tabs are up for grabs.

Get cultured.
Stellenbosch and surrounding areas: do yourself a favour and head over to the Root 44 market, every Saturday and Sunday, located between Somerset West and Stellenbosch. Warning: you will be tempted to buy everything you see, both edible and not. But be strong. You need to save yourself for other incredible things happening, such as the Vintage Market held at Trumpet Tree in Stellenbosch, every first Thursday of the month. And if you happen to be an art-nerd, wait for the last Thursday of the month to enjoy a free tour of all the art galleries in town, accompanied by some good wine and snacks. The same concept is used for Cape Town art galleries on the first Thursday of every month.
Visit these websites to find out more:
Root 44
First Thursday

All the best with exams (and life in general).
Make coffee and make progress. Be strong, young ones.

Remember: if you don’t study-break, studying will break you.

(Note: please quote me on the above when I become famous.)



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