Fighting End of Semester Stress
In my first semester at university, I was instructed to read Heart of Darkness for a class. This would be the first of two times I would read Joseph Conrad’s novella; the second time was only a month ago. It took me nearly three times as long to read the book the second time, and I am now convinced that I didn’t take in a single word when I read the book that first semester – which is too bad, considering I was being graded on my comprehension of it that first time only. How many pages of textbooks, scholarly articles, or other assigned readings have you read that you haven’t absorbed a single word of?
For me, the answer was always a lot. I never saw myself a bad student, but some days, it’s just impossible to pay enough attention; whether the distraction was a lack of sleep, another class, or the sheer magnitude of work I’d been presented that day, there’s a lot that can get inside your head and make focus difficult, if not impossible. There are hundreds of perfectly valid reasons to lose focus for a reading, in a class, or while studying – especially while stressed. A 2016 study performed by the American College Health Association found that over 60% of students spoken to felt “higher than average” or “tremendous” stress over their past year. Most of the rest (over 75%) felt what they considered an “average” amount of stress in the same time frame.
"I never saw myself a bad student, but some days, it’s just impossible to pay enough attention."
Stress is not a very good motivator for positive action. I wrote most of my best papers when I had the time to sit down and really focus on their creation, and to do so over a long period of time. But stress is also inevitable, and it changes the way we approach our work for the worse. The first time I read Heart of Darkness was because I had to – and worse than that, I had a deadline to meet. That made really reading it a significant challenge.
In a Perfect World…
Unfortunately, deadlines exist, and stress is unavoidable; it’s a response that is built into our natural way of thinking, and it’s always going to be around, especially in a world where the end result of schooling is a job and career. Right now, it’s early in November, which, years ago, meant that I running out of time to read Heart of Darkness -- the semester was ending, and the essay I had to write about it was worth more of my grade than anything else up to that point. In the same way, a lot of students are running out of time to get their work done; it’s a terrifying reality for many.
"How big a difference could a small boost to focus have made through all of those readings, lectures, and study sessions?"
It’s amazing to think about the eSmartr Sleev® in that light. The Cognitive Boost Technology embedded within it is designed to provide a boost to the wearer’s focus, clarity, and calm. How big a difference could a small boost to focus have made through all of those readings, lectures, and study sessions? How much more information could I have retained, given the ability to focus just a bit more strongly in a safe, natural, and drug-free way? The Sleev is mindfulness made that much easier; an incredible asset to any kind of schoolwork. Not to mention a boost that I’d have been happy to have on those long evenings spent reading pages upon pages of English literature as quickly as possible.
I did not do well in that class, no.