7 Ways to Cope with Midterms

by Dom Jones

Midterms are upon us, and while we’d love to say that we’re completely prepared and utterly calm, our future forebodes late nights, a poor diet, and stress for the rest of this week. Though there’s no way to completely dodge the tension of testing and projects galore, there are ways to mitigate the short and long term damage it can do to your body and psyche. Here are my tips for getting through the rest of this week:

1. Drink your water

This seems like something natural you would just continue to do, right? Well, stress will make you forget to quench that thirst and water does a lot to replenish your blood cells, keep your energy up, cleanse your system of toxins that will make you tired and irritable, and help your skin stay clear. If you need help remembering, tap in one of your friends as your water buddy who will remind you to take in your eight glasses per day. Try to avoid soda and other highly sugary drinks that will have you energized for less time than the inevitable and torturous crash that follows the sugar high.

2. Get at least 6 hours of sleep per night

Why didn’t I say at least 8? Because I’m one of you. I know you’re going to go to Caf Shows and out to eat and have sessions and shed until the crows come calling, but I also know that studies have shown exhaustion to look similar to drunkenness. Avoid that sleeplessness hangover by getting to bed at a reasonable hour (for a college student). You’re putting your testing ability at serious risk when you take an exam without the proper amount of rest.

3. Make music leisurely

Yes, we’re at music school, so we have a ton of assignments regarding music, but sometimes we can get so caught up in writing that bridge for songwriting class that we forget that music is fun! Set aside some time to make a beat or come up with a chord progression that’s just for you… not for a class or an assignment. Remember that all of this stress is leading you towards the rest of your career. It’s just this one week of testing right now. It’s a lifetime of music making.

4. Be kind to yourself

It’s likely that many of us are behind on our schoolwork or procrastinating on a project that’s due soon. Give yourself some love and kindness to go along with that swift kick in the butt. You’ll be much more likely to do well on these assignments (albeit rushed) if you approach them with positivity.

5. Get extra help

Okay, guys: this is the time of year when you’re figuring out if you’re going to be okay, you’re retaining the information you’re learning, or if you’re in serious trouble. Don’t be ashamed to seek out help so that you can catch up, if you feel that you’re falling behind. Actually go to the learning center. Actually go to your teacher’s office hours. It’s okay. Don’t let yourself fail a midterm because you were too ashamed or prideful to get a little extra help.

6. Go outside

Again, this sounds like something that’s going to happen, but walking from class to class doesn’t count. It’s getting chilly outside, but you still need your fresh air! Take a ten minute walk in the morning after breakfast or in the evening before homework. Staying active will release endorphins and put you in a better mood for whatever task is next.


Everyone says it’s the most important meal of the day for a reason. It’s not a clichè for no reason. This meal gets your metabolism going, helps your brain start to function at a higher capacity, and gives you an energy boost for your day ahead. Even if your classes don’t start until the afternoon, don’t skip breakfast. Get up, have some fruit and tea, and get your day started. You’ll feel much better if you do.

Good luck to all of you this week, and remember, even though it feels like your entire existence hinges on how well you do this week, it’s just one week in a whole lifetime. Don’t let it bring you down!


About the Author

Dom Jones is a dual major in Music Business and Songwriting, and her work has been published in Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Blavity and Ebony.com. She released her debut album, Wingspan, in 2014 and her follow up EP, Blackbird in 2016. Find out more about her at iamdomjones.com