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The Most Dreaded Time of the Semester: Finals Season

This time of year signifies several things: the holidays are approaching, cold weather is coming, and finals season is upon us. Being a third-year college student, I’ve definitely learned that finals season is nothing to take lightly. It’s the most stressful time for a college student, and it all happens within two weeks of school. With final projects, papers, and tests, this time of year can be extremely hectic and stressful—especially as the holiday season approaches. It can be difficult to find motivation during winter finals week when all you want to do is cozy up and drink hot chocolate, but I’m here to give a few tips on how to “survive” and explain why it’s okay to be stressed during this time as a college student.

Make a Schedule
One of the biggest tips I can give is to make a schedule of everything you have going on within the next few weeks. Chances are, you have a lot of deadlines that are very close to one another. Time management will be key as you try to finish large assignments and study for cumulative tests within a span of two weeks. Prioritizing different tasks is essential since you’ll more than likely have to spend more time on one class than another. The challenge with finals week is that your deadlines may overlap, and you have to pick and choose what you decide to devote your time to. This is where making a detailed schedule of your study time comes in handy so you can make sure that you aren’t forgetting anything and you’re spending your time and energy efficiently.

Find Your Study Space
Depending on your study style, certain environments may be more set for productivity than others. If you are the type to focus in outside noise and activity, consider studying in a public place such as a coffee shop. The white noise will keep you alert and focused on your work. For those who require absolute silence when studying, find a place that is designated or known for being a quiet study space. If you’re like me, you may fall somewhere in the middle. I find that I can’t fully focus in public environments but complete silence makes me uncomfortable. Typically, I can find a good place by studying on the first few floors of the library or going somewhere quiet and listening to music. One general tip I have, regarding study spaces, is to get out of your bedroom or apartment. Being too comfortable can hold back productivity levels and if you’re anything like me, studying in bed or on the couch usually results in falling asleep or playing on your phone. To avoid distraction and procrastination, I recommend that you find this perfect study space for yourself.

Take Time and Treat Yourself
Taking all this time to study and plan for finals requires so much. If you work yourself constantly without sleep or taking a break, your energy will run low and you won’t study as effectively. Make sure that you take time out for yourself. Some of these breaks may only need to be five minutes, while others may last an hour or two. Really, it depends on how long you’ve been working, what tasks you have left to do, and how you are feeling physically and mentally. Personally, I know how hard it is to find time to make a good meal for yourself during finals week especially when fast food seems like the best option. Regardless, it’s important to make sure that you are not only eating regular meals during finals week, but also that the meals you are eating are healthy. This will help you in the long run when you’re staying up late studying. Also, don’t forget to treat yourself when finals are over! Make plans with friends or set aside time for yourself to relax. Plan your reward before finals week to help you stay motivated and give you something to look forward to. Have a movie night, go to dinner with your friends, order take-out, see a show, or just cozy up in your bed with some Netflix and popcorn.

I know how hard this time of year can be. It’s okay to be stressed out during finals but remember, while finals are important, it isn’t going to be the end of the world if you don’t receive the grade you wanted to. Finals season also means that a fresh new semester is coming soon! New classes and a chance to meet new people. For the people graduating, congratulations! Finishing college is such a big accomplishment and all the worry over finals, tests, and quizzes will be worth it! Good luck to everyone taking finals and acing all those tests!

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