The season is approaching—Jack Frost keeps baring his teeth, bringing winter out for a day or two only to scurry back into his cave. It’s time to make a calendar with flaps and eat a chocolate for each day that passes, getting us closer and closer to the big event. That’s right—finals week is only three weeks away! Finals this semester are December 10th to the 14th.
Panicking yet? I am. And if you’re not, you probably should be. The good news is that if we do our panicking now, we don’t have to do it on December 9th, and we may even have a chance at a rare sighting, of a creature that has joined college lore as the stuff of legends: The Well-Prepared-For Finals Week. Egad!
Yes, the WPFFW is a rare creature indeed, and the lack of sightings in recent decades have led many to believe it is extinct, or was even only ever a fiction created by English professors to lure students into believing that the only reason a final covering seven pages of key terms and ideas couldn’t be easily managed was clearly due the students’ own blinding incompetency and lack of study skills (Of course I’m not talking about your LIT 300 final, Professor Gilcrest. Of course that exam was as easy as I made it look).
But I have good news. The WPFFW does exist, and by setting up a welcoming habitat by following these tips, you may just have the good fortune to see one at this semester’s conclusion. Here’s what you need to know about the WPFFW.
- It is terrified by any sort of “vacation mentality” prior to December 15th. You may be thinking that your Thanksgiving break this week is a wonderful time to kick back, relax, and forget about school for a while. This is false, and if you have any hopes of seeing a WPFFW, please reject this notion right now. Yes, on Turkey Day I encourage you to eat, drink, and be merry. But use the rest of your break to knock out a major chunk of any final projects with rapidly approaching due dates, and to begin implementing a study plan for your finals.
- The WPFFW prefers a clean, organized environment. Take some time to get your study materials in order and give yourself clean spaces in which to study. If you can minimize physical clutter, it will help minimize stressful mental clutter and provide a welcoming habitat for the WPFFW.
- The creature is not a sprinter, but a pacer. To make sure it will feel comfortable near you, it is essential that you also become a pacer as the calendar days go by. Figure out which finals will require the most study time, and budget your hours accordingly. If there are finals you can knock out with a few hours of study the evening before, awesome. But most of your finals probably can’t be treated that way (that is, if you would like to do well on them), and acknowledging these finals as the time-intensive projects they are will be very helpful in attracting a WPFFW.
- Okay, I’ll admit it—the WPFFW does have a special affinity for nerds. This does not mean that you have to start watching The Big Bang Theory religiously (indeed, such behavior would rob you of precious study time), but it would be helpful to try to talk yourself into enjoying studying. Maybe this will help: you’ve been on several adventures this semester. You’ve taken classes in which you’ve covered a whole semester’s worth of new knowledge. You’ve earned all sorts of tools that could be useful to your academic career, or could just be cool because you never would have had the opportunity to use them otherwise. Each course teaches a story about a subject over the course of a semester, and if you can’t love that story yourself, at least try to see how your professor could love it enough to teach it for a living. Think about how far you’ve come in just a few months, and try to imagine how this new story might fit in as a subplot to the grand narrative that is your own life. If you can do that, studying can become meaningful and even enjoyable. Don’t doubt—the WPFFW hates doubt.
So there you have it. Follow these guidelines, and the WPFFW may just pay you a visit this year. And even if it doesn’t…well, there’s always Santa and the Straight-No-Chaser Christmas album. Stay classy, Ladies.