by Jessica Newlin
Finals are just around the corner (deep breaths, people). It seems that after midterms, the semester flies away. You’re kind of cruising on a back country road before that, but right about now you probably think you are on the autobahn (a German high way that has no legal speed limit, pursue at own risk). Right about now you are being hit with end of the year exams, papers, projects and presentations. Almost every single class has some form of “final” that consumes your life for the last weeks of school, but you don’t only have one -- you have one for each class, which means forget your social life, because every time you finish something there’s always more to do. This is the part of the year where it’s acceptable to turn your cell phone off, not go home on the weekends, not participate in sporting events and shut yourself in the library. BONUS: If you can get through these next couple of weeks, you get to do it all over next semester.
It’s funny how this is the time of the year when the library is full of people who have never been there before. I wonder if we actually worked that hard all semester long if we wouldn’t want to kill ourselves by the time exams come around. Truthfully, it isn’t normally hard, it’s simply very time consuming. Projects and papers require more than just sitting down and working for a couple of hours with a finished product. The research, group meetings, responses from other individuals and putting the entire thing together can take weeks of work. These are the assignments you can’t do the night before. Although I would say that procrastination is (somewhat) acceptable throughout most of the semester, this is NOT one of those times. Your grades will greatly reflect upon these next couple of weeks. This is the part of the year where students who have been slacking most of the semester kick it into gear and understand what they need to do in order to finish with acceptable grades. If you’ve been a great student all semester, however, you will probably be a little more relaxed. If you’re like me, you’re probably freaking out about all the stuff you have to do.
Here are a couple tips to help you survive finals:
Stay inside: Order delivery, go to the library, or lock yourself in your room. Partying was great all semester, but now you honestly don’t have time for it. If you concentrate better at home, then go home on the weekends and focus on your work. If you’re like me, however, you probably can’t concentrate at home. You’re distracted by the fridge, or the dog, or the TV or that comfy couch that you just nap on...
Don’t get distracted: A lot of these tips are a mixture of College & Stress and College & Distractions, but all aspects of college intertwine. It’s very easy to get distracted by all the other things you have to do -- like laundry, sorority meetings, organizational meetings, other homework and, most important of all, Facebook. The truth is, when I’m distracted, I normally take about two extra hours doing something that I could have done a lot faster if I just stuck to it. You don’t have two hours to spare anymore. You need to sit down and get stuff done. I also tend to work on about five things at the same time, but you’ll find it easier if you work on things one at a time that you can check them off of a list.
Eat the right food: This is important all the time, but during the last couple weeks of school it’s important to eat in moderation and not stuff yourself with unhealthy foods. They will cause you to simply sleep and be hungry sooner. You don’t have time to waste napping. When it comes to caffeine, also choose a healthier option: coffee = good. Energy drinks = stay away. Choose a caffeine that isn’t going to make you crash. Stay away from deep fried foods. Always remember to eat though, don’t skip meals.
Sleep: Kind of. Look, even though you may not have time, sleep is very important. If you don’t sleep well, you obviously won’t want to do anything the next day. I would say sleep at least six hours.
Don’t feel guilty: Don’t feel guilty about not having a social life, skipping some club meetings or speaking less with your family/friends. This is the time of the semester where it’s ok to be selfish. You’re in college in order to get an education. If you’re like me, it’s hard to say no to people if they need or want something, but if you know you don’t have time or should be doing homework instead, it’s important to explain to them why you can’t do this or that.
Make a chart: Make a chart of the next weeks leading up to finals of everything that is due, on what day and what you need to do each day for that specific assignment. I know I always work on this and then get to class and not realize that we had to do a small reading assignment. If I remember or am reminded it’s always last minute and I’m scrambling to do things. This chart will save your life. If you don’t want to make a chart, you can always make a to do list each day. There’s something so gratifying about checking things off of a list.
If you do all of these things you should be successful in your last couple weeks of the semester. Remember: studies show that if you study before going to sleep, it boosts your ability to remember things in the morning, but that doesn’t mean study the night before the exam. Good luck in all your end of the semester projects, papers, exams and presentations, and God help me with mine.