Have you eaten today? How many hours did you sleep last night? When’s the last time you went outside? Friends, family and co-workers ask me questions such as these a little more often this time of year. Taking classes at UC Berkeley is draining, and the stress intensifies as soon as we return from Thanksgiving break.
Make your life a little less stressful this finals season by planning ahead, using campus resources and prioritizing yourself. At the end of the day, what you do at UC Berkeley is not more important than your physical and mental well-being. Even if it means asking for more time or stepping back, do what you need to take care of yourself this finals season.
Before you step back, see how you can plan ahead. For some, taking care of themselves might look like attending tutoring. The Student Learning Center, or SLC, is a great resource for tutoring and academic assistance. This year, it is offering virtual services that range from virtual review sessions to drop-in Zoom tutoring. Each service varies by subject, and some departments offer more services than others. For instance, SLC’s social science team offers 30-minute, virtual one-on-one appointments that are focused on whatever assistance you need. There are also virtual services for math and statistics, economics, writing and language exchange.
Advising and mentoring are also available for folks who aren’t in need of a tutor. Each college has a team of professional advisors who can support you in many ways, including providing you with options if you are struggling in your classes. For mentorship, the College of Letters and Science offers virtual drop-in mentoring sessions with UC Berkeley graduate students. Additionally, the Educational Opportunity Program hosts many activities for underrepresented students, including academic advising from professional and peer staff.
Taking advantage of academic resources is a great strategy for staying afloat through the end of the semester, but be sure to prioritize your well-being. University Health Services, or UHS, offers Counseling and Psychological Services and Social Services Counseling. All UC Berkeley students can receive these services regardless of their insurance plan. These services even include drop-in consultations to help you explore which one is right for you. UHS also offers support services outside of counseling such as health coaching in the Health Promotion department. Health Promotion also offers several resources, including a guide to wellness self-coaching and PDF handouts on topics such as stress management and study skills. You can book three different types of virtual appointments such as health coaching for personal and academic success in addition to sexual health and education coaching.
Coaching, mentoring and advising aren’t for everyone. Many centers on campus offer additional resources and support programs that don’t require you to show up for a meeting. The Basic Needs Center created a living guide to COVID-19. The guide includes information on helpful resources such as the food pantry, CalFresh program, emergency housing and technology support.
Many of the resources offered on campus can help you prepare for finals. Try writing down each of the resources you plan to use in a document titled “Wellness Plan.” Schedule tutoring and review sessions for your finals and papers. Find times that you can explore the resources you picked. Then, leave extra space for prioritizing yourself. It doesn’t have to take too much time — as long as you allow yourself to rest.