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How to Survive Finals Week at Art School

If you’re like many students out there who thought attending an art school would be fun because art school is ‘sooo much easier’, then let me tell you somethin’ boo…

Regardless of the fact that you are now drowning in your wrongness, chances are you are already billions of dollars in (by freshman year, to be exact), and you can’t afford to quit. Don’t cry yet though, I came up with a list of ordered tips – tailored just for your artsy-fartsy needs – that will help you dribble through finals week like Kobe.

 

  1. Plan Ahead!

    Make a list of everything you have to do for finals week in advance. My school has a ten-week quarter system; so by mid-week eight, early-week nine, I would have made a note of every final deliverable that is due. At this point, you also want to have an idea in mind about what you want to do for your studio final. As you get these things done, you can physically feel the stress leave your body as tick them off of your list.

  2. Knock the lecture work out first!

    I don’t care how much you don’t want to write that English paper! I don’t care how much you don’t want to study for that Art History exam! Do all the little assignments first! Get it out of the way…because when you spend so much of your time trying to get inspired for your Color Theory final due Thursday, you’ll realize that you didn’t write the paper or the Blackboard post you have due Wednesday afternoon. By that point, guess what? It’s Wednesday morning.

  3. Get the group project out of the way second!

    Now that you’ve knocked out the little assignments early on, get on top of your group work! My Fashion Marketing and Management major entails group projects for almost every class, so I know a thing or two about how stressful it can be. If you’re in an organized group, you all would have already set a schedule of deadlines you want met and all you would have to do is abide by them and work ahead where possible. If you’re in the worst group ever (which will most likely be the case), you’ll have group members who will do things on their own time, some that will aggressively try to take the lead, and some that will literally contribute nothing. In this case, make it your business to be the one that tries to take the lead. Do the whole PowerPoint yourself, and that way, you have full control over the result. If that means you lose a few hours of sleep, do so; because your grade (and the learning process) will show for it. After all of that, you have the chance to unleash your frustrations through your peer evaluations.

  4. Now for that big studio final…

    Depending on the major, this project will obviously look different; however, whether it’s a skirt you have to make, an architectural model, an animation short or even a dissertation, make sure you have already fully realized your idea and have researched before you try to start with the execution. Any time I have tried to start a piece without thinking about everything must go into it, I end up with a block and wasted time. Have your full strategy in place: the schedule and pacing you need to go at, the sketches and flats drawn, and materials bought before you get started on the skirt. This will help you to avoid any bumps in the road because you’ve already put on the seat belt before you started driving the car.

Even with these tips, please realize that there is almost no way to be perfectly ready for finals week! THINGS HAPPEN. If you’re like me, you get sick every single time around finals and you start running low on grocery and/or meal swipes, time and sleep. Preparing in advance helps you avoid some of these disasters and help you navigate the week a whole lot easier! Good luck out here in these streets! (*cue the Mockingjay whistle*)

 

Courtenee Ross is a Senior Fashion Marketing and Management major with a minor in Fashion Journalism at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
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