November was actually a high time in this semester when we were truly become ‘marathon’ runners. Getting the assignment finished while juggling part time jobs, and social activities with university was our main goal. Working too hard and worrying too much, however, turned out to be ‘burnout’.

As the days were getting darker, the stress seemed grow among us. We considered short breaks between working important that could help us switch off, particularly for the weekend. To prepare for a presentation or write up a report, we also tried to get some fun time outside for ourselves with our families and friends; then when we came back feeling fresh gave a good boost and motivation on work. Besides, in a short break, we also put on some calming music that would help us get in better frame of mind.

We didn’t believe that anyone truly enjoyed the feeling of knowing that it was dark when you went to school and even darker when you left. (One of us almost missed a bus stop this morning because it was so dark?!)

The only thing that somehow improved the dark and grey atmosphere was the thought that Finland would turn into a winter wonderland when there would be snow (read: sleet) outside.

Combining the darkness with the amount of piled up assignments just seemed cruel. We honestly haven’t had even counted how many assignments we had to do by the notorious week 51. The amount must surely be infinite.

It was challenging, and it would probably only get even more difficult. But no assignment so far has actually managed to shatter our motivation.

As the days get darker and the due dates got closer there were some challenges that we faced. People often got stressed for the amount of work and the darkness could have effects on our mood too. Some people might even have been depressed. For these reasons it was important to learn to prevent stress.

For many the winter in Finland could be hard. The days became very short and this made people feel more tired than normally. It became difficult to do the homework and study after long days at school. There were many challenges that we faced in our studies, but they were not something that are impossible to deal with. It was just about knowing yourself and what was the best way for you to do things. For some it might be about managing the time well and for some it could be doing sports as a way of reducing stress. The best ways to prevent stress would probably be to do the homework on time, sleep enough and not to set too high expectations for yourself.

The fact was that Finland’s winter was dark and long, but we just had to learn to deal with it. We all were feeling stressed sometimes, but it was not the end of the world. Everything got much easier when we remembered to stay positive in difficult situations and just tried to do our best.

Before high school we honestly didn’t even realise the darkness that swallows whole Finland during winter months. During those three years in high school we were quite able to deal with the dark months but now it really has hit us hard – We didn’t know anything more upsetting than Tuesdays when sun rose just before we arrived in Myyrmäki and set before last lessons have ended. Lucky not to live in Lapland with 24/7 darkness! Even tough days were sometimes hard and grim, we had few, classy, tips how to survive.

One – attitude. It was all about how one set mind towards the fact that it would be dark and cold next four months. Whining didn’t decrease the amount of homework, the snow melt or the sun shine.

Two – prioritising and planning. Procrastination would only make things harder, not remove them, so set clear plans when to write this essay and that report and stick in your schedule. Thereby the workload would be more easily handled and all upcoming deadlines won’t freak you out.

Three – relax. Everyone should also take time for relaxation; meeting friends, reading novels, watching telly or whatever made you forget stress. Stress and polar night combined would be very hard to cope with! Mulled wine or a cup of tea and a good film made you feel bad said no one ever, so take all advantage out of this period when it was acceptable to get buried in sofa and  eat leftover christmas chocolate as much as you want.

See, classics weren’t classics without ground!

Written by Ekaluokkalaiset



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