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A Procrastinator’s Guide to Midterms and Finals

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

The time has come once again. You’ve probably made it through your first round of midterms and are gearing up for round two. Congratulations on making it this far! But if you’re reading this, I’m sorry you’ve had the procrastination curse bestowed upon you. As an expert procrastinator, I understand you. I’ve developed some helpful lessons to make it manageable for you to get through with your head above water. 

Now I have to break this into two comprehensive sections: before you’ve procrastinated and after you’ve let it get away from you. No matter which stage you’re at, we’ll figure it out, don’t worry.

Before You’ve Procrastinated: Welcome! Right now you are in a great spot because you don’t feel too behind yet. In this stage, the focus is to try and keep you from falling behind, or at the very least preparing yourself for when you are at the deadline. 

Starting here is simple. If you have a study guide early or a project’s assigned details, read through it. It’s okay if the entire thing looks foreign, but it will help you to have some idea what you’re going to want to know and focus on. Just going through this prepares you on some level of what you’re about to come in contact with. 

If after doing that first read through, you’re feeling like you can start tackling the work, that’s great! But if the pressure isn’t pushing hard enough yet, at least you’re one step ahead of where you were. This is the time you are going to want to create motivation out of thin air, but if that isn’t in the cards, you’ll definitely want to keep reading. 

After You’ve Procrastinated: Hi, it’s going to be okay! We can’t take back time and make you not procrastinate. You can scold yourself if you feel it’s necessary to break this pattern in the future but you always get it done, and now is no different. The fire has been lit and now it’s time to work as hard as possible, it’s you against the clock after all. 

What you need to do now is lock in. Go over the study guide for your exam (if you’ve been blessed with one) or the outline for your project you’re doing at the last minute. This is crucial to make sure you aren’t going to miss anything important. Review what you already know and don’t need to put as strong a focus on (remember it’s okay if this list is smaller than what you don’t know). 

Now that you’ve gotten through the easier part, it’s time to switch into gear and start working hard. This is when you need to set yourself up for success in a way we missed before. Get all your essentials packed with you and ready to grind it out. Focus. Whatever that means for you: a study playlist, a bag full of snacks, too much caffeine, whatever makes you tick. 

One constant I try to keep in exam season, is no matter how stressed you are and how much you don’t know, rest the night before. Only pull the all-nighter if you have ample time for a power nap. You need the clearest head you can have going into the exam you may not feel prepared for. That doesn’t come from cramming until the sun rises and you rush into the exam room, it comes from rest. You can still wake up early and do a review and finalization of the information, but it’s much easier when you have the capacity to work with reason. You’re giving yourself room to critically evaluate for the questions you don’t know, rather than your mind going blank and only remembering what you memorized. 

Most importantly, you’ll figure it out. You are a hard worker, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. All the cliches about there being light at the end of the tunnel ring true, bask in the sun once you’ve made it. And give yourself a pep talk so we can pretend we won’t ever do this again.

Hi! My name is Astrea Schweikl and I’m a second year Communications major here at UCD!