Step 1: Set yourself up for a breakdown

Always make sure to enroll in at least 15 credit hours a semester to ensure optimal overlapping course schedules for a mental breakdown. With 3 quizzes, an exam and a collaborative group project all scheduled for the same week, it’s easy to put your mind in the space for a breakdown. It also helps if you have a job or two to throw in the mix as well. Ten-hour Saturday shifts during football games will raise your FOMO and bring you right to the sweet, sweet breaking point.

Step 2: Have everything come to a crashing halt

It’s Sunday night, you’ve worked the entire weekend, and you are in the midst of studying for an exam the next morning and writing a primary source analysis paper. Suddenly, it dawns on you that you also have to meet up with your group for an oral presentation before noon the next day, which clearly is not going to happen. Your mind is churning and, running on limited sleep, it has now reached the optimal state for a breakdown.

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Step 3: Dissociate

Now that you’ve stacked up all your obligations at once, it’s time to ignore all of them and remove yourself from reality. Start checking your group chats and add some witty comments about your friend’s coffee date into the conversation. Watch endless playlists of YouTube slime-making videos and neglect your open Google Docs tabs. This moment of zen, while fleeting, is crucial to a proper breakdown.

Tenor

Step 4: Cry really loudly

Eventually, the sobs locked inside you during this moment of zen come bursting forth. For the uninformed, this might seem like the first step of a mental breakdown, but the preceding steps are always underlying this inevitable demise. Everyone approaches crying differently, but a guttural wail is always a good option. When loud crying is not appropriate where you are when your breakdown combusts, silent, gentle sobbing is a nonchalant way to release your tears until you can lock yourself in a bathroom stall. When your friends or professors notice your crying and ask what is wrong, make sure to reply in the most non-specific way possible. Solving your problems is not the top of the list of priorities at this moment.

Step 5: Call parents to debate dropping out

Tears at this point are optional, as your impassioned plea may or may not need them. You’ve dug yourself into such a big hole that dropping out seems like the only logical solution. Luckily, your parents are successful in telling you not to withdraw from school 66 percent of the time. Their reassuring words give you extra motivation to kick this breakdown’s butt.

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Step 6: Make a to-do list of what you need to do without actually doing it

This step allows you to see all the work necessary to end the breakdown while still living in the misery of it. This lets you soak in the big sad of your procrastination one last time, while still procrastinating in the process!

Step 7: Actually start the work

The simplest step to describe and the hardest step to execute.

Tenor

Step 8: Take a snack break

Mozzarella cheese rests for no weary soul. Microwave some nachos to find a respite in the midst of your all-nighter. I recommend microwaving this cheese atop a bed of crisp corn tortillas for thirty seconds to make “stress nachos.” The flavor combo whets your appetite and creates brain fuel for what will certainly be one of the more intense study sessions of your life.

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Step 9: Finish everything you were supposed to do

Maybe it was sheer manic luck, but somehow you’ve completed everything that was stressing you out and causing this mental breakdown in the first place. Now is the time to sigh, relax and get that one hour of sleep you’ve allotted for in your schedule

Step 10: Do it all again

Expect these mental breakdowns to occur bimonthly until finals week. Try to plan in advance to avoid them, but honestly, resistance is futile.