4 Natural Remedies to Increase Your Focus During Finals Week

As finals week approaches, there are several ways you can help yourself increase your focus while studying. When preparing for exams, it is important to take care of yourself so you can stay mentally and physically strong. Taking steps to reduce your stress will lift your mood and help you feel better overall, putting yourself in the best position to perform well on exams. Here are few remedies to make sure this finals week will run smoothly for you as you ace your tests (because duh, you rock!):

Remedy #1: Eat Right

It is important to fuel your body with liquids and foods that will help increase your energy and focus. Some fantastic energy boosting foods include bananas, salmon, brown rice, eggs, spinach or kale, and sweet potatoes. Some snacks that will lift your mood as well include apples (1 apple has equal caffeine to one cup of coffee!), some nuts, and even popcorn. As for liquids, you can have a cup of coffee or green tea, grab a Yerba mate, and most importantly, drink lots of water to help yourself tackle your work. Also, if you’re really feeling it, treat yourself to some dark chocolate that is filled with antioxidants to help blood move throughout your body and increase concentration. 

Remedy #2: Take Time to Clear Your Mind 

Another way to ensure you stay focused and productive during finals week is to set aside some time to clear your head. It may help to create a schedule for the and put all your thoughts on paper. To start, you can write down the tasks you wish to complete and goals you wish to accomplish throughout the entire week. You can even get specific and label which days you need to complete these tasks, or you can just lay it out more simply to see a bigger picture of the week at first. As you begin each day, pull out your notebook or computer (wherever you are writing your schedule), and write down all the work/activities you wish to complete that day. It is helpful as well to set specific times for these tasks to hold yourself more accountable and be more productive. You can even make a separate list at the bottom for “maybe’s,”which are jobs you can complete if you end up having some extra time.

Remedy #3: Be Active

Throughout the week of finals, it is crucial to take little breaks from studying so you do not get burnt out. I recommend taking these breaks to workout! In the mornings, you can relieve your stress and anxiety by following a guided meditation or perhaps, doing some yoga. I recommend searching for these videos on Youtube and finding a style that suits you. If you want to be even more active, you can get some fresh air and take a quick run outside or even go on a hike with a friend. As well, it is understandable if you have to limit your workout time during this week. However,  just taking small moments to breathe or perhaps do a ten minute workout will be beneficial for your overall focus. Heck, you can even do some planks while you rewatch lecture videos.

Remedy #4: Practice Self-Care While Studying

Even while you are absorbing information from your classes, you can treat yourself and relax at the same time. Some tips I have is to put on a face mask while you’re studying, drink some calming peppermint or chamomile tea, or even turn on a diffuser if you have one and throw in some citrus or lavender scents to help you concentrate. As part of your study routine, you can finish the night off by journaling and let out your feelings on paper to alleviate your stress and clear your head for a good night’s rest. It is so important to prioritize your mental and physical health, and sleeping can help your body recuperate after a long day’s work and sharpen your mind for your exams.

With these remedies in mind, finals week will be a breeze as you tackle your tests head on with a strong present mind. Your body and heart will thank you as you prioritize feeling good along with doing well in your classes. Know that nobody is perfect, and you are going to be okay no matter what. Work hard, try your best, and believe in yourself- not just this finals week, but always.

What To Do During Your Self-Quarantine

Hello all! I haven’t posted in a while but considering the state of our world right now, it has inspired me to document events and moreover, find new ways to express myself in this free time.

As of now, the coronavirus has affected over 300,00 people, with almost 11,400 deaths worldwide. Living in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, March 19th ordered a statewide lockdown so most of my friends, including myself, are currently self-quarantining at our homes. I have followed the news since the virus existed only in Wuhan, China and it is surreal that COVID-19 is now personally affecting people close to me in my life. I know many high schools seniors who now will never experience prom, college freshman whose dorm experience they will never get back, seniors who feel robbed of their graduation, and athletes whose sports seasons have been stolen from them.

More than that, it is distressing to watch the whole world struggle at once and I find it so important that we, as a population, work together to stop this virus from spreading. We must have empathy for others during this grave time and realize these are people’s loved ones being affected, whether it is a loss in finances, health, and/or happiness. It easy to think it won’t affect you as well and maybe it won’t, but it is the least you can do for the world to stay inside for some time (and don’t hog all the toilet paper).

With that being said, I have created a fun list of what to do during your self- quarantine. Keep spreading positivity and don’t forget that your happiness IS a priority!!

Pick Up a New Hobby

Some new hobbies to try: painting, scrapbooking, playing guitar/piano/another instrument, creating a website, DIY, cooking, baking, investing, reading, learning languages, meditating, sewing, updating your social media & job sites, listening to podcasts, discovering new music & making new playlists

Spend Time with Family (& FaceTime Your Friends)

While this one for many may be a challenge, if you are lucky to have a family that is there for you, it is important you spend some time with them (including your pets). You can play some board games, watch movies together, play video games, make Tik Toks (yes, I said it), help complete chores around the house, ask them about their life story, take your dog for a walk, workout together, and just try to be nice & helpful during this difficult time. It is also good to stay in touch with friends and your SO (if you have one) over FaceTime to remain close and connected. This will help you feel less alone and isolated and put a smile on your face! : )

Catch Up on Netflix

Alright for anyone looking for some good Netflix shows to watch, I have an earlier blog post where I talked about all my favorites! There are countless of amazing movies, documentaries, and TV series and honestly this is such a good way to entertain yourself and escape reality when you’re bored out of your mind. When your binge watching, you can also mix it up with some healthy snacks ; )

Support Your Local  Businesses

If your local businesses are still open, it is important you stop by and help support them. You can order takeout from your local family run pizza place, buy a drink at Starbucks, buy some donuts from the place across the street, purchase some clothing at the nearest boutique, grab some Taco Bell, etc. The economy is entering into a recession and many people are losing their jobs and it is the least you can do to purchase some small items at places near you (but of course, stay safe and practice social distancing)

Get Fit

Who else is going to come out of this quarantine super fit?? That’s right, you are! Take advantage of beautiful hikes in your area, go for a run in your neighborhood or on the treadmill at home, lift some weights in your room, discover new workout on YouTube and Tik Tok, do some Just Dance, workout over FaceTime with your friends, and continue to drinks lots of water & eat healthy. Find a balance between watching Netflix and staying fit (you can even do both at the same time), keep your immunity up, and stay healthy!

Journal

Lastly, write about your quarantine experience. Document the days because COVID-19 will be history one day. This is a surreal time for the world and to be apart of it is an astounding experience that you might as well write about when you have nothing else to do. You can even just write about your life in general at the moment. Make sure you set aside time to assess your feelings and reflect upon this national crisis, because it can be very overwhelming and stressful. Practice self love and ensure your own happiness.

One more thing- WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!

Love you all,

stay safe 

 

 

Life Under California’s COVID-19 Lockdown

I’m challenging myself to write down my thoughts/feelings and the activities I do each day during the California lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic. This state shelter-in-place is an interesting social experiment and I think it will help me stay motivated and inspired if I document each day! I’ll update the post for each day I am under lockdown.

3/19: Day 1

Today I took my last final and it was luckily the only final I ended up having to take this quarter since my other ones became optional due to the coronavirus. It was for my Judicial Process pre-law class and it went pretty well and wasn’t too stressful since it was open book/open google (you get the idea). Other than that it’s my first day home and I’m actually not terribly bored yet and it’s been nice seeing my family again : )

3/20: Day 2

I actually wrote a blog post about things you can do while self-quarantining mostly because I was trying to brainstorm ideas to keep myself busy while under lockdown. I watched the news for awhile (I didn’t have cable at college) and caught up on some YouTube videos. I finally worked out, which I want to do every day while at home, ate some good food, and went to sleep.

3/21: Day 3

I was pretty lazy today- I made myself a mocha in the morning and started to watch season 3 of “Atypical” on Netflix. I hung out with my brother for a bit, worked out, ate, then slept once more.

3/22: Day 4

I started to think about redoing my room and went straight to Pinterest. My family is redoing a ton of other spaces in our house right now and it’s kinda making me want a change as well. I also took my clothes out of my suitcase and hung them up, finally accepting that I won’t be back at Cal Poly SLO for awhile.

3/23: Day 5

Today was the first day where my spirit was a little low. The new reality of being under lockdown for who-knows-how-long is finally sinking in. I’m starting to miss friends, but I’m still grateful to be with my family and for good health. The virus is really starting to get bad now, with 46,477 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 2,246 cases in California alone. In my college town (SLO) there are now 33 cases and in my home town (San Diego) there are 230 cases. I’m starting to get a little more worried as these numbers continue to rise. I’m starting to feel like we might be under this lockdown for quite some time.

3/24: Day 6

I’m feeling better today and not as negative about the lockdown. I started to read again and I feel like it’s really helping me by bringing my back to my roots and prime form of entertainment (I used to read every night as a kid). It makes me feel more at home and comfortable with how things are right now.

3/25: Day 7

I’m really starting to get in the routine of things- I wake up at 11:00am, eat some brunch (usually toast with avocado or bananas with peanut butter), do something creative then watch Netflix, eat dinner, workout around 7pm, then relax once more. It’s a really light schedule to say the least, but it helps me stay focused and feel like I still have a purpose.

3/26: Day 8

I finished a painting of a sunflower I had been working on for my room back in college. It’s just been nice to work on different creative projects each day- whether its reading, playing guitar, painting, selling clothes on Poshmark, etc.It just helps me stay busy and honestly the painting turned out better than I thought (drawing is my weakness) so I was kinda proud. I got out of the house for a bit too and went to Starbucks with my mom (the only one left open in town) and also got some decorations at the dollar tree for my brother’s 16th birthday coming up. We went on a nice family walk, I worked out, I went to bed. Today was productive.

3/27: Day 9

I baked a cake and a TON of cookies with my mom to prepare for my brother’s birthday, which is tomorrow. It was nice to finally eat some chocolate chips and cookie dough since I’ve been trying to be super healthy otherwise during quarantine. I worked out later in the day and for the most part, I was in good spirits.

3/28: Day 10

It was my brother’s birthday so I woke up early around 6:45ish to help decorate. I took a day off from working out and I didn’t really read the news or think about what’s going on in the world much. I just stuffed myself with cake, cookies, and ice cream; it was a good day and it was nice to be with the fam.

3/29: Day 11

I ate some cake for lunch it really was the greatest decision for the day. I worked out some too, tanned outside, read, and played some nerf with brother. It was just another chill day and its still been nice hanging out with the family. I’m enjoying the coronacation for now.

3/30: Day 12

I’m really tempted to do some online shopping. I already accidentally bought a Kate Spade purse (in my defense, it was technically a birthday present for myself) so it may go downhill from here with all this free time. I’m still trying to follow a very broad schedule and get up around 11am and workout around 7pm. It’s been going very well and it’s kept me sane. I went on a walk down my street with my family and had some good tacos for dinner. How nice a Mexican restaurant sounds though right now!!

3/31: Day 13

My family discovered one of the only Starbucks left often in San Diego so we just had to make a stop there this morning. We were all nervous about going to a drive through, but after we were glad we supported a local business and the coffee was amazing and really brightened my day. I worked out (I’ve only missed a day during this quarantine) and read a book outside. I’m still enjoying this break, but now the news says the peak of the coronavirus may not be till mid- May and that we will most likely be in shelter in place till especially May 3rd. This makes me worried that I won’t even be able to go back to college/SLO town in May and stay there for a month or two.

4/1: Day 14

The governor decided to end the shelter in place policy… April fools! Still in lockdown and its just yet another day for the world battling the coronavirus. Today was a lazy day full of self care, which is highly needed during a time like this. I ordered a hair mask just for fun on amazon (make sure to wash your hands after receiving packages) and some textbooks for school as well. Everything is just so surreal to me right now, especially how my school is now going to be virtual.

4/2: Day 15

I finally finished the book I have been reading, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I have two more books on the list for this quarantine that I still want to read as well, and I may do another post about all three of them since they are all self help books. Anyways, today I facetimed a few friends and it really brightened my day. I think FaceTiming a friend at least once a day is super important to stay connected right now and stay healthy mentally.

4/3: Day 16

Today was the first time I became a little sad again. I was going over my class schedule since (online) school starts this Monday and it just hit harder that I have now been away from my friends for quite some time and will probably not be able to see them for quite a long more time. I’m really starting to miss everyone and the people I love from college.

4/4: Day 17

My attitude was super positive today and I had a ton of energy. I started to miss someone from school a lot later in the day and my energy then felt a bit off, but it was pretty good for the most part overall. I worked out a ton (for about an hour 1/2-2 hours) and read so it really helped ease my mind. I also did a face and hair mask, doing a little spa night for myself to make me feel less stressed.

4/5: Day 18

I started to go a little crazy today. This morning I was super anxious and felt really upset. I decided to get out of bed and workout for a bit outside even though it’s really cloudy. School starts tomorrow and I just wish I was actually back at campus with my friends. I’m going to make some chocolate chip cookies now.

4/6: Day 19

Today is the first day back to school (well, online school)! I only had one class in the from and I was actually done by 9:30 because it ended super early. The class in person would have been so much more fun and I wish I could interact more with my classmates, but it wasn’t too boring.  I started a new book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” and let me tell you, it’s pretty entertaining.

4/7: Day 20

20 days??? I can’t believe it’s been that long actually it went by somewhat quickly, which is surprising. I had my first full day of classes and they seem easier than if I were to have them in person, which is nice. I’m glad school has started because I think I would’ve felt more bored today since it’s been raining and I can’t really tan or anything right now in the backyard. I’m actually starting to get used to this quarantine life though, which is weird.

4/8: Day 21

Whelp, I made cookies for the second time so that’s where I’m at. Literally cannot stop eating sweets. Like it’s bad. Eating healthy was not an issue for the first two weeks but my diet has since gone downhill. Honestly, weight should not be a worry during quarantine- we have a global PANDEMIC going on in case you forgot. Just be kind to your body, but (in my opinion) still eat well so you can feel good. Have a treat every so often, but remember, you will ultimately feel better by taking good care of yourself. Beyond that, this season of “Survivor” is absolutely iconic. Period.

4/9: Day 22

Today I have eaten so healthy and I’m honestly super proud since I got off track lately. It’s not bad at all to not eat super 1000% healthy all the time, but it got to the point where my body was starting to crave food that wouldn’t make me FEEL good. Anyways, this entire quarantine I have worked out every day and failed to mention my routine. I do the Alexis Ren ab and butt workout each day and on top of that, I run/walk/jog for about an hour. Lately, I have also added a workout by Chloe Ting if I’m really feeling it. These videos are all on Youtube and super helpful- I’ll prob do a post actually about them in the future : )

4/10: Day 23

Last night I lied and after I wrote my post for the day I proceeded to eat… five pieces of candy. Anyways, I ACTUALLY ate healthy today, despite my dad making egg free brownies (they were delicious) and having a piece or two. I read a ton for school and pretty much studied all day. Online school is pretty easy so far and I really hope that trend continues, because I’m here for it.

4/11: Day 24

I have my first two quizzes for online classes coming up and I’m kinda nervous, but I’m hopeful they will go well. Anyways, I’ve been watching a little bit of Netflix during this time and I really recommend “How To Get Away With Murder.” Watching TV, taking morning walks, baking, doing yoga, and working out consistently has all kept me sane. I’ve had a few moments where I thought I was going crazy, but overall, life is still good and there is much light at the end of this quarantine tunnel.

4/12: Day 25

Happy Easter! Today is one of the happiest days I have had since the start of this quarantine. Maybe it was the sugar rush from all the candy I ate, but I truly feel so grateful for my life and this time with my family. I feel so lucky that my family isn’t struggling during this time and just really appreciate what I have and the life God has created. Our world may be a mess right now, but surely God has a plan for us all. Anyways, I just feel such a strong sense of self right now- I know who I am, what I want to do, and have an idea of what I want to be. I am so fulfilled and thankful to be alive today. Life is full of challenges, but that’s what makes us who we are and we are defined by how we face these challenges. I strive to face my challenges head on, with grace, positivity, and gratitude. Wow, this got off on a tangent- so sorry about that- no matter your religion and whether you celebrate Easter or not, I hope you enjoyed today and see the positives in your life.  : )

4/13: Day 26

I actually felt pretty off today. I think it might be because I had SO MUCH sugar yesterday and it’s just catching up and making me feel terrible today. Anyways, I’m trying to still eat healthy, but I’ve been pretty lazy today. Much Netflix needed.

4/14: Day 27

I honestly still did not feel that great today and after the hype of Easter I realized how much I really miss my SO and friends back in college. It’s been a long time now and it’s really hard not knowing at all when I will see them again. I’m just trying to stay focused and do the best I can in school in the meantime.

 

Quarter vs Semester System- Cal Poly SLO

Cal Poly is the only California State University (CSU) remaining that runs on the quarter system.

The other 22 CSUs follow the semester system, which runs sixteen weeks long. Cal Poly’s schedule comprises of 10 weeks per quarter. Students are in a constant rotation of classes on the quarter system in comparison to the semester system. From this, several pros and cons in terms of how the quarter system impacts life on campus have emerged.

Amy Lan, a freshman Public Health major said the transition from the semester system at her high school to entering college on the quarter system was “fine first quarter, but really hit second quarter.”

“There was just so much work and it was very stressful … with only 10 weeks to accomplish everything. It is a lot pressure – your whole grade can be determined by one final,” Lan said.

She also said breaks would be nice, but because of the fast pace of the system, she has become more focused on spending more time working and admitted there is “less procrastinating” since there is hardly any extra time.

A downside to the quarter system, however, is that teachers tend to take longer to put in grades. There is simply less time to grade papers since there are only 10 weeks before final grades are reported. Due to this, there tends to be fewer assignments that count for more so a grade may only be based off of a few components instead of several.

On the semester system, Lan said students along with teachers have more free time so students have the ability to redeem themselves if they receive a bad grade and teachers have more time to collaborate with their students, instruct, and review their coursework.

On the quarter system, some students said there is pressure on students to perform well on every single exam and for teachers to get through material as fast as possible.

“No one really enjoys the quarter system, but it’s not too bad,” Lan said. “The fast pace of the quarter system makes you work hard and learn more.”

Agriculture business freshman Grace Pagliuso had a different take on the quarter system.

“I love the quarter system because it allows me to take more various classes throughout the school year,” Pagliuso said.

For her, she said the adjustment from high school to college was made easier due to AP classes she took that consisted of heavy work loads. The fast pace of the quarter system was not as much of a shock and Pagliuso said she finds it enjoyable.

“The quarter system makes you prioritize and it allows for constant exposure to new ideas since you are switching your classes so often, which is something I like,” environmental earth and soil sciences junior Monique Rae said.

A simple chart that better outlines the difference between the quarter and semester system was found on Quora.

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The shortness of the quarter seems to also put an intense pressure on students to manage their time well, especially if students want to fit in outside activities. Students have to squeeze in participating in clubs or sports within their fast paced study schedule.

Professors, like students, also like the quarter system on varying degrees.

“One of the things I like about the quarter system is that it moves so fast – you can do lots of different things in the span of the year, but it also prevents you from having in depth kinds of investigations of topics,”Professor Steven Ruszczycky from the College of Liberal Arts department said.

According to Ruszczycky, faculty do not have to submit grades until the Tuesday of Spring quarter so they only get four days off.

“I have to turn around and prepare to teach whole new sets of classes. Winter and Spring end up feeling like one gigantic quarter, or one gigantic term so its exhausting,” Ruszczycky said.

Prior to Cal Poly, Ruszczycky taught in New Zealand on a semester system that was 14 weeks long. Students would attend classes for six weeks at a time and then have two weeks of a break between each semester.

“It was nice to have that rest,” Ruszczycky said. “It would be nice if there was something like that institutionalized even with the quarter system.”

In terms of change, there was a survey that circulated around asking staff if they would be interested in having three day classes per week, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday rather than a two day class schedule. Classes would be 90 minutes rather than 110.

This is a benefit of the quarter system because teachers and students would be in the classroom for shorter periods of time. This would give everyone a breath of fresh air and slightly lessen the pressure of having to focus for such a long period of time in class and consume or teach a large chunk of information all at once.

The results of this survey distributed by the Cal Poly Administration were not available and no change has occurred after it was given.

A complete change in the system would be a tremendous amount of work due to the complex conversion of units from the quarter to semester system, because students would only take eight classes a year versus twelve.

The conversion would benefit transfer student however, because it would align their requirements or units up with several other CSU’s, making the switch a lot easier.

For now, the the Cal Poly administration is committed to to keeping the university on the quarter system.

“Cal Poly has carefully evaluated the quarter system and believes the pace and variety of courses taught by our esteemed faculty is essential to Learn by Doing and prepares students for a lifetime of learning and success,” University Spokesperson Matt Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News.

Still, Cal Poly welcomes a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs this year, so the debate between the quarter and semester system continues to linger and is always very much on the table.