Help! end of semester stress

I feel like I’m losing it a little as the end of the semester nears…I had an exam in OChem II last night and it kicked my ass…I usually finish 40 minutes early with no trouble, but last night I got stuck on some of the short essays and just couldn’t get through them. I was still struggling with it when she called time. Today I’m trying to work on my last lab assignment, which is identifying a couple of unknowns by spectroscopy, and I’m struggling again. I can’t figure out these things for the life of me, and usually these aren’t that hard for me. Now I’m worried not only about how I’ll do on this assignment but also on the spectroscopy exam tomorrow night. It seems like I should be able to figure these out!
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not that I don’t understand the material (I think) but somehow I can’t seem to pull it together right now. And as soon as I start getting stuck I get anxious, and that just makes it worse, and then I just choke completely. You know, I start with “hmm, I can’t figure this problem out” and progress to “omg, I’m going to flunk this assignment…my grade in this class is going to go down…my gpa will drop…I’ll never get into med school…especially since I probably did awful on the MCAT…how did I choke so bad on that physical science section anyway…I bet I got a 4…” etc, etc. I realize I’m being ridiculous, especially reading back over that! I just don’t know how to get a grip. Does this ever happen to anyone else? any suggestions for how I can get past this?

Hi Beth,
Ya, I know how you feel, because I'm in the same boat. I would have a 3.8gpa if not for chemsistry. My OchemII final is Sunday morning, and I'm working my butt off - like I always do, but it seems all for naught. I have not figured out how to get around the problem ether (errr, either). What gets me is why med schools put so much weight on this subject, given the exit interviews I've read that showed ochem was of little help in med school. When someone finds the answer, please let Beth and me know.

LoL…I can sooooo relate. Finals are next week, and I still have a chapter to read and take notes on in Abnormal Psych, 4 chapters worth of study guide questions in Abnormal Psych (which will serve as the review for the final, a chapter to take notes on in A&P, a standardized ACS final in G Chem that I’ve barely cracked the study guide on, a long technical paper for my G Chem lab (it was an honors class so our lab is more like an O chem lab in terms of experiments done, but we kept a lab notebook rather than turning in weekly assignments and have to type up all our research for the semester like we were the first ones ever doing the research) due Fri by 4 pm, a short 2 pg paper summarizing a chem lecture we had today, and at least 3 more sections left to go through and then the final to study for in calculus! AAAARRRRGHHHH! biggrin.gif
And I keep managing to sleep longer than I plan! I will get it all done of course, but it’s going to be an interesting week and a half blink.gif
We will all get through this without going completely nuts lol…I promise!
–Jessica, UCCS

The best advice I can give may sound a bit trite, but it worked for me. Go to a movie and get a good night’s sleep. Really.
I was in tears the day before my OChem II final because I had studied so hard and nothing was clicking. I did the movie and sleep thing, and did well on the final. I managed to turn a C+/B- grade into a solid B. For me, in that class, that was a success.
If you’ve worked hard, studied hard, and don’t know what else you could be doing, maybe you just need a rest. A chance to go into the test refreshed and ready to kick butt!
Oh yeah, and tell that little voice that says “you’ll never do it. You’re going to fail,” to shut up! wink.gif
You will succeed!
Good luck!

Hang in there, folks! You will get through it.
Try a little mini-meditation when you get stressed out? Take five minute to breathe in (think: I am), breathe out (think: relaaaaaxed). I’ve been panicking over a proposal all night (couldn’t sleep) and morning, and this morning found a great mini-meditation site and it’s helped calm me and rejuvinate me.
Good luck! Hang tough!

Wow, I can totally relate to stress imacting your ability to do just about anything. I bombed a chem final last year for that very reason. Right before the exam I explained some of the material to other students and they understood it and I swear that data fell out of my brain and I got all those problems wrong (this is totally true) and the people I helped got them right. Retaking that class this summer.
Silly thing (to me anyway) is I went through something very similar in college. I am sure I have posted about this before but basically I have ALWAYS been afraid of math and as a result put off taking the math requirement to graduate UNTIL THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT. Not only that but when I tested my score indicated I should have taken a pre-pre calc class but I knew pre calc was the lowest I could take that would count so I went for it. I thought if I worked really hard it would all come together and could not have been more wrong. For the first few weeks, we had quizzes every other class, I was FAILING. The worse I did, the harder I studied and studied and studied and was still failing. Having given up all hope, the night before a quiz I didn't study at all. I played pool instead. I aced that quiz. Granted I had failed a number before so my end grade was a C+ but it was enough to graduate.
Now, I am not advocating not studying just that I know for me, my brain needs some time to assimilate new material and let it percolate. Not all that much time I just need time between learning. It's almost like rain – too much all at once and it all can't penetrate the ground. Several times this past semester I would think there was no way I'd be able to assimilate all the info I needed to but it all worked out – in spite of my stress.
That's just a long way of agreeing with the statement that you should take in a movie, get a good night's sleep.
One last thought… there was a NY Times piece last fall about stress and college students. It said women did worse when it came to stress because they tended to undervalue the benefits of downtime. Men, in the article, would go back to their rooms and play nintendo or watch tv or just do 'mindless' things while women were all about working more and harder all the time. There has to be some balance. I am probably repeating this more to get it into MY head because I have trouble with this concept, too. Yesterday after my final I had no idea what to do with myself!