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How to Stay on Top of Schoolwork as the Semester Ends

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LUM chapter.

It has officially reached that point in the year where it seems like your professors have a personal mission against you to assign as much work as humanly possible, but it doesn’t have to feel so overwhelming. Over my years of experiencing the stress of finals and end of year projects, I have developed a system that allows me to stay on top of everything, even when it feels like it will never get done. 

  1. “Due date” does not mean “do date” 

Listen, I know you think that essay isn’t that long and you can do it the night before, but I promise you, it feels SO much better to start your work before the due date. My personal plan is when I get an assignment, I look at the due date, and starting at least a week before its due, I little by little begin to work on it. For example, if I had an essay due Friday, I would do the introduction Monday, the body paragraphs on Tuesday and Wednesday, conclusion on Thursday, and re-read and check over everything on Friday. By breaking your work up into manageable sections, the assignment seems a lot less daunting.  

  1. 20-5 rule 

When I study, I find myself not being able to sit down and focus for long periods of time on one assignment. I’ll be working on an essay and I get an email and before I know it an hour has passed and I’m cleaning out my spam folder instead of doing work. One of my ways of combating this is by setting a timer and focusing on one task for twenty minutes. Then, when the alarm goes off, I take five minutes, not to check my phone, but instead to putter around the room, refill my water bottle, move my laundry to the dryer, or make my bed. This makes those five minutes productive, but still allows me to clear my mind. 

  1. Get outside 

As someone who comes from an area where the woods are just a step into my backyard, reconnecting with nature when stressed is incredibly important! Whether it be going on a walk around campus, doing your homework on the quad, or even sitting outside for five minutes to get some vitamin D, it’s important for both your physical and mental health to get outside. Of course, safety is incredibly important, so don’t go anywhere crazy far away where no one knows where you are. Life360 or sharing your location with your roommates is always a good idea, and it can never hurt to carry around pepper spray. Always be aware of your surroundings when outside. 

  1. Taking some time for yourself 

I know during this time of the semester, it seems like your every waking moment is spent studying for exams, writing essays, and dealing with all the other crap that comes with moving out, but it’s important to remember that this is just a small point in your life and you still need to think about yourself. Lately I have been getting into guided meditation when I need a moment for myself, allowing my brain to decompress from all the stress and assignments. Whether it is meditating like me, or doing your nails or watching a movie, make sure to prioritize yourself in every way, both academically as well as mentally. 

Good luck with tackling finals!

Colleen Minnaugh is a freshman at Loyola University Maryland. She is originally from Atlanta GA, and is a writing major with an English minor. Writing and reading have been a huge part of her life since middle school; from AP Literature, to dramatic writing class, she has always known that writing would be a huge part of her life. Colleen has been working at her local, all female owned and operated bookstore since she was fifteen years old, leading her to be exposed to many different kinds of writing styles and genres, but she quickly discovered that classic literature holds a very special place in her heart. From the stories told by the likes of Charlotte Bronte, Franz Kafka, to even the occasional contemporary author such as Sylvia Plath, Colleen is absolutely captivated by the beloved classics. Colleen will mainly aim to write opinion based pieces on current events, pop culture, politics, book reviews, movie recommendations, and so much more! She will publish an article about every two weeks, and she hopes that you enjoy them each time!