A boy studies while looking at his phone.
Jayme Sileo/Nevada Sagebrush
During midterm week, many temptations can disrupt a student’s focus. It is important to not pile on more stress through self destructive behavior.

Focus. Twelve page essay due Thursday. Two exams Wednesday. Group presentation tomorrow and no one has even contacted each other yet. Now is not the time to freak out. Maybe I should call her? Does he still think about me? Let’s send a “wyd” text. 

What are you doing?

Stop it. Focus. 

Now is not the time to be self-destructive. You can’t afford the extra stress. Save it for next week. Please, I beg of you. Your grades depend on it. 

Midterms season blows in every year like a Kansas twister—a whirlwind of stress, sleep deprivation and caffeine desperation. Like any storm it can be combated in two ways: through preparation or prayer. The latter of which is sufficed with tributes to the Mackay statue. The former involves diligence and a willingness to take stress on headfirst—more specifically, a willingness to manage stress in a prudent way. Starting with, not telling her you love her after you’ve been broken up for six months and she has a new boyfriend. Seriously, save that for next week.

The first step towards managing stress is differentiating between good stress and bad stress. Good stress is what makes you want to be productive. It comes from sustained stressors, the things in the back of your mind you know must eventually be dealt with. Since they won’t leave the brain until they’re accomplished, you are motivated to get these things done and be productive. We like good stress, it makes us want to study. Bad stress is punctuated stress. It hits like a bullet, quick and surprising. When you get something thrown at you or remember that something must be dealt with immediately. It can make you panic, shut down and cloud your thoughts. 

Basically, bad stress is the worst thing to deal with during midterms. It can’t always be avoided, I think we all know that. Sometimes that one class you don’t pay attention to has an essay due the next day-that you swore was due next week. It’s one of those things that will happen, and just has to be dealt with. It’s part of the midterm week experience. 

What you shouldn’t do is pile on bad stress through self-destructive choices. I’m not judging, seriously, just make it through the tests first. Please. Postpone the DM-ing of that frat boy just a little bit longer. You need to focus. 

I don’t mean to preach. Believe me, I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again, undoubtedly finding a way to make this whole week harder on myself than it already is. I write this in solidarity, not scorn. Sometimes we don’t get the angel on our shoulder we need. The one who reminds us to focus on what is important. Midterms are important. Love and fun and parties and taking risks and making bad decisions are important too. Midterms, however, are right now, so they need priority for the moment. Treat yourself to as much foolishness and smooth-brain activity as you want once they’re over, I know I will. Until then, stay strong and manage your stress wisely. 

Vincent Rendon is the opinion editor of the Nevada Sagebrush. He can be reached at vrendon@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @vincesagebrush.