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Middle Earth – Students Helping Students:
Peer Assistance Hotline: 442-5777
Information and workshops: 442-5891

A new group of volunteers is trained each semester. Applications are available throughout the year from our office, and all students who are registered for classes at the University are welcome to apply. Selections are made toward the end of each semester. Training classes begin the following semester and last for the entire term.  Course credit is also available through the Department of Counseling Psychology in the School of
Education for students who choose this option.

Gaining experience as a Middle Earth volunteer is excellent preparation for careers in psychology, medicine, social work, education, communication, or related fields.  What is most important is an interest in helping people, a willingness to learn from your volunteer work, and a commitment to the Middle Earth program.

How to Stop Procrastinating and Other Exam Survival Tips

Final exam time can often be stressful and nerve wracking.Student studying in the New Library While some stress can actually be a positive motivator, being too nervous or tense can be problematic, especially if it interferes with your test taking performance. With less than two weeks left in the semester, it’s time to focus on what you can do to get yourself through this demanding time.

Here’s some advice to help make the end-of-the-semester experience less stressful. These tips are offered by Dolores Cimini, PhD, director of Middle Earth, UAlbany’s Peer Counseling service.

Deal with your anxiety:
Try to determine the source of your test anxiety. If it stems from a lack of preparation on your part, your anxiety is considered a rational response. However, if you believe that you are prepared for the test, but are still panicking or overreacting, this may be an irrational response. Either way, it can be very helpful to know how to work with their effects.

Prepare for those tests and assignments:
This is the best way to minimize anxiety. Here are a few tips for preparing for an exam:

• Avoid cramming for a test. Cramming can produce high levels of anxiety and is not helpful in trying to learn a large amount of material.

• Instead of trying to memorize all of the intricate details from an entire semester’s worth of notes and readings, try combining everything and learning the larger, main concepts first.

• When studying, try to create questions that could possibly be asked on the test. Try integrating ideas from lectures, notes, books and other readings.

• If it is impossible for you to cover all of the material for the test, choose one portion that you know you will be able to cover and present well.

Student studying in the New LibraryChange your attitude:
It can help to change the way you think about taking tests. A test will not predict your future success or determine your self worth. Changing your attitude can actually help you enjoy studying and learning. Here are some ways you can work on changing your attitude:

• Remind yourself that it is only a test and there will be others.

• Reward yourself when the test is over.

• Think of yourself in a positive way. Think of all the hard work you have done already or think of what you do know.

• Plan ways to improve next semester

Don’t forget the basics:
Do not forget about yourself and what you need. This means thinking of yourself as a total person, not just as a test taker.

• Maintain proper nutrition and exercise, and continue some of your social or recreational activities. It is ok to take a break once in a while.

• Make sure you get plenty of sleep. You cannot function at your best if you are tired.

• Do something relaxing when you feel adequately prepared.

2 Students studyingFinally, when test day comes, make sure you eat breakfast and avoid caffeine. Caffeine can give you the jitters and disturb your concentration. Again, try to do something relaxing before the test. Cramming minutes before can produce anxiety. Get to the test early. This way, you can pick out your seat away from anxiety-ridden classmates and other distractions. Now, you are ready to take the test…Good luck!

Tell Us Your Story




How to stop procrastinating now!

Although most people are not happy to acknowledge that finals are looming in the near future, the prospect of having to study or prepare papers for this occasion is especially difficult for a certain kind of person - THE PROCRASTINATOR! The procrastinator dreads both the actual final exam and the long process that leads to the finals. Rather than simply begin to study or prepare now, the procrastinator will begin a series of strategic maneuvers (either conscious or unconscious) to avoid even thinking about finals-related responsibilities.

So, why do people procrastinate? There does not seem to be much consensus on this matter. Most of these excuses are based on what Albert Ellis calls “irrational beliefs”. Here are some examples of these beliefs:

• that we always have to be perfect

• that failure in a task means that we fail as a person

• that everyone must like us and be kind to us at all times

• that we should never have to work too hard.

It is important to understand our irrational beliefs and our personal reasons for procrastination so that we can work around and challenge this self-sabotaging habit.

Here are some tips to help you begin the process of becoming a non-procrastinator:

1. Acknowledge and accept the unpleasantness of the task, then compare it with the unpleasant costs of delaying action.

2. Examine and clarify the benefits of doing the task now.

3. Take personal responsibility for making delays - say, "I am choosing to delay...because..." - and do so without angst.

4. In order to give yourself practice in taking immediate action, get into the habit of making quick decisions about trivial matters.

5. Divide the project into small, manageable parts. Then prioritize, beginning with the least difficult to the most difficult of the required tasks

6. Reward yourself after you complete a number of tasks or the entire project.

7. Do the best you can while understanding that it can never be perfect.

8. Do not use alcohol or other drugs to deal with stress.

9. Start the day by doing the task you want to do the least - the rest of the day will be a breeze!

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