Ah, the summer term. The nights are getting lighter, the weather is getting warmer, and exams are … um … getting closer. This time of year is inevitably stressful for students; and by now summer stress is a feeling we know all too well, ever since we first sat our GCSEs all those years ago. While we don’t have actual face to face exams this year, the next month still has the potential to be rather hectic with deadlines, take home-exams and timed assessments looming. We must do everything we can to look after ourselves and each other at a time like this. Whether that means having a pamper night, going on a quick walk with a friend, or even just leaving your room for a cup of tea, we’ve got plenty of ideas to get you through to the summer holidays.

1.    Ditch the books for a day at the park

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Obviously, it’s important to keep the hard work consistent at this time of year; However, at the same time we all need to take the occasional day off to forget about the textbooks. Whether you fancy taking a Pinterest worthy picnic down to Sefton, or if grabbing a crate from Tesco is more your style, you wouldn’t believe the wonders an afternoon in the sun will do for you! You need to make sure to follow social distancing measures if you’re picnicking with people outside your household. Still, as long as you do all that, you’re in for an enjoyable afternoon forgetting about exams. If you don’t fancy taking a whole day off work, why not grab some course mates for a study group in the park. A meal deal and some fresh air will make a world of difference to your study session!

2.    Hit town for a spot of retail therapy

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Nothing makes it easy to forget exam stress like a good clothes haul. Now that the shops are open again, we have the perfect excuse to leave the house and take a break from coursework and exam prep. Whether you’re looking for some funky jeans from Zara or picking up a few bargains in Primark, why not spend an afternoon checking out this season’s fashions. If you don’t fancy straying too far away from your books, why not check out the various charity shops Smithdown has to offer – see what hidden gems you can find!

3.    Liverpool Guild of Students weekly quiz

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This time last year, we were doing about 5 zoom quizzes a week with each different group of people we knew whether it was uni friends, home friends or family; it seemed like if you weren’t busy making a quiz, you were mentally preparing yourself to do someone else’s. While we still can’t sit inside a pub for their weekly quiz, Liverpool Guild of Students has still been running their quiz night throughout lockdown, streaming it through Twitch and using a big Kahoot quiz to operate it. Last semester my housemates and I got into a nice routine of sitting down together at 8 ‘o’clock on a Monday evening in the hope of winning one of the cool prizes on offer throughout the evening. The quiz is hosted by the charismatic Che Burnley and takes on a different interesting theme each week. Also, it’s not long until we can all be back in the Sphinx taking part in the quiz in person, rather than all sat on our sofas!

4.    Catch up with friends

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Although life is starting to go back to normal, as we can now go for outdoor food and drinks with friends, it is still easy to feel isolated during exam season, when it feels criminal to leave your desk for anything other than a cup of tea. If this is how you often end up during May and June, why not try just having a simple facetime catch up with your friends before bed or sitting in the garden for a coffee. That way, you don’t need to stress about leaving the house for a long amount of time or getting dressed up to look presentable in public, but you also still get interaction with friends outside your household!

5.    House movie night

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If you’re an early bird worker like me, rather than a night owl, then you’ll get the feeling of finishing your uni work for the day and then not knowing what to do with yourself until bedtime. Why not suggest a movie night to your housemates? You could work through a series of films from now until exams are finished, giving you all something to look forward to together during this hectic time. We started the Cornetto Trilogy the other day, which is the perfect distraction from deadlines! Or take it in turns to share your favourite film with everyone so that you each get to choose at some point. Movie nights are a cosy way to unwind, and for extra relaxation, you could combine it with a pamper night, and all do face masks together while the film is on.

6.    Revision snacks and breaks

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This probably sounds strange, but one bit of exam season I used to kind of enjoy was the revision snacks. Exams are the perfect excuse to treat yourself a bit more than you usually would, with your favourite snacks and constant cups of tea. At this time of year, it’s important to make sure you’re giving your body the sustenance it needs to persevere through the constant coursework and revision. Whether you fancy extra chocolate (magic stars were my revision favourites!) or maybe something healthier, like a trail mix, just having something to snack on in between or during revision sessions always provides me with a bit of extra comfort. You could also try using your snacks as a rewards system, telling yourself that if you finish a section of your work, then you’ll have a snack and a 30-minute break as a treat!

Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to take some time for yourself and the things you enjoy during this exam period because it’s also important to remember that everything is still quite different and scary still, with exams perhaps being in a different format to what you initially signed up for. With this in mind, we need to remember to cut ourselves some slack and still have relaxed time away from the textbooks and essays!