Tips to Finishing Your Semester Off Strong

With finals coming up just around the corner, exams, projects and presentations start to pile up. The end of the school year can flash by, leaving you feeling behind, and not able to get back on your feet. Luckily, I have advice to help you on these last couple of weeks that will pick you up onto your feet and give you a head start into finals week.

Make a List

Making lists helps you organize your thoughts instead of letting them become a jumbled mess in your head. Grab a piece of scratch paper, log on to your school site and jot down everything that needs to get done by the end of the year. This may be overwhelming at first but this is not where you should stop.

Next, log onto Google Calendar (it’s free) and make “events” where you can plug in due dates, group project meetups and study times for the upcoming weeks. You can view the dates by week or month in order to give yourself a timeline. Once you can see everything, take a deep breath and focus on the week you are on. Only one week. This will make the projects and papers fly by because you are looking at 5-7 days instead of a 3 week time period.

Work through each deadline one by one as you check them off your list. Only go back to your original list of everything for reference, but try not to look at it constantly. This will most-likely overwhelm you and freak your mind into thinking you need to do everything at once. Take it one due-date at a time and you’ll be done before you know it.

Change Your Study Spot

I live in a sorority house of nearly 50 women. We have study areas, but they tend to become crowded or too loud with everything happening in the house. That is why I like to change my study spot often. I’ll go to a coffee shop or small restaurant to spread out my things and grind on the homework. You might find it helpful too. If you are nervous about spending money when you walk out of your dorm or apartment, or you don’t want to walk out of Java House smelling like you were just sprayed with coffee, you may find that the Voxman Music Building is a gorgeous, quiet place to hit the books hard. I love it there because when there is noise, it is usually violines or classical music being muffled behind a practice room door. A perfect place for your ears to rest from earbuds and for you to tackle the studying.

Take Care of Yourself

With the heavy burden of exams and the feeling like you need to do everything at once, it is important to realize that there is also a need to take care of yourself. Working yourself to exhaustion and not drinking enough water is not the way to go about it. Everyone needs a little break and you should take one, especially around finals season. Don’t get me wrong, the week shouldn’t be filled with late nights at Cactus or hanging out on your phone when you have an exam tomorrow, but once you feel like you have put in a good two or three hours of work, know when your body and mind need to rest.

Fuel yourself with good rest and TONS of water. It seriously is crazy how different your body feels when it isn’t dehydrated, and many of us are dehydrated most of the time without even knowing it. Many say to drink eight 8-ounce glasses (or half a gallon) of water a day. Ask yourself if you are doing this. If not, I recommend purchasing a water bottle with a straw. It has helped me so much with water consumption and makes me feel more awake throughout the day.

Along with this, make sure to rest. This includes at night, and if you’re a nap-taker, during the day too. Humans were not made to go all day. In fact, it has been said that in the early ages, people would sleep five hours during the night and five hours during the day. This is why we get in a “slump” around two or three in the afternoon. Now, I’m not saying to do this, I think most people’s schedules don’t really work this way, however understanding that your body wasn’t made to run all day and all night is important. In order to get the most out of your work, you need a well-rested mind and a happy, hydrated body.

The last few weeks of the semester are difficult. You may be feeling the effects of stress over finals, along with preceding exams, projects and presentations. However, if you make a list of the tasks that need to be completed and look at them week by week, change your study spot in order to focus and grind out your studying, and remember to have some downtime and drink plenty of water to stay awake throughout the day, you will fly by these next few weeks on your feet in order to jump into summer.

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