By Nathan Schiller, Director of Academic Support 

One of the toughest challenges of school is that assignments keep coming. Even after midterms, you don’t get a break. And if you’ve missed an assignment or two, you may feel even more pressure. 

In the LEC, we’re used to helping students with these challenges. Although we’re known as the writing and math tutoring center (because, after all, that’s what we do), we’re also a place where you can relax and discuss strategies for handling pressure throughout the term. 

No matter how many times my colleagues and I discuss this topic, we keep returning to the concept of mindfulness. Colleges are always offering students tips for mindfulness, because practicing it can help reduce the stress of school, especially during the pandemic 

Mindfulness suggestions from LEC specialists 

My mindfulness suggestion is to strive for balance. It’s great to watch shows and take walks to decompress after working hard on an assignment. But if you watched five episodes and walked for an hour after doing fifteen minutes of schoolwork, you should think about whether that is a sustainable balance of work/leisure, and whether it can help you achieve your academic goals.  

Christine’s advice is to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, to acknowledge it—and then figure it out. Feel free to cry, to be mad—these are good emotions to express, if you’re feeling them. But then try to understand why you’re feeling them, so that you can look for a resolution and move on. 

Jacqueline agrees (I think we all agree). She suggests being aware of what you’re going through and try to accept it. Don’t push it away. Why not look at your work as a nice big plate of food? Take little bits at a time. Sometimes you’ll need to push back and walk around, to let it settle. And then come back for more. 

Ren says: Don’t freak out! Step back. Breathe. Do something that grounds you. 

And Barrington goes a step further: meditate. Put a mat on the floor and just sit, breathe, relax. Don’t think about math formulas. Count four breaths in, four breaths out. Force your mind to focus on something else. 

I couldn’t agree more.