Saturday, April 30, 2016

Surviving Finals Week

Well, I'm in that jolly good time known as Finals Week. There are a lot of other nicknames for it, none of them I will repeat on the internet :) And I'm nearly there, folks. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just have a murderous exam and a portfolio worthy of drowning in. I just have to make it to Monday at 5:30. So wish me luck.
Despite the pure horrible-ness that is Finals week, it is possible to survive. I am living proof, a four time veteran of these nasty weeks. So here we go.

         Get all of your supplies together ahead of time. Know when and where each exam will be so that they don't sneak up on you. Make a list of all exams and pay attention in class. If you're lucky, the exam won't be comprehensive. But, unfortunately, as my Astronomy professor has made very clear, most of them are. Make sure you have all the materials you need to study successfully. Book, notes, powerpoint, notecards, etc.

        If your professor does not provide you with a study guide, don't panic. You can still make it through this. It's not too difficult to make your own study guide. Go through old tests, quizzes, activities, and notes, picking out the important things. In language classes, I highly suggest notecards. They are majorly helpful. And I know creating your own study guides can be time consuming, but I promise that it will save you time come the actual studying portion.

      It's super important to study by yourself. I completely agree with this because I just do better by myself in all things. However, groups are also a great study tool. Peers might have study materials or information that can be helpful for you. You can quiz each other, which is kind of difficult to do by yourself. And besides, in quizzing other people, you're actually committing the material to memory as well. So, ya know, two birds with one stone.

        As an English major, I faced a lot of final papers and essays instead of actual exams. Don't worry. I've still had those too. But essays have been pretty equal. I personally enjoy these more. Essays allow you to demonstrate your knowledge much better than throwing a bunch of trivia questions at you. But whatever. I'm just the student. I've been pretty good about spacing my essays out. Take breaks. Walk away from them. Go study for other things. Take a snack and netflix break. You'll feel better if the words aren't coming out just right. Just write, don't edit. Just get through it. Then read it out loud. This will show you where you've repeated words or made some other kind of error. Very helpful.

      You've done good all this semester. Eaten healthy. Gone to the gym. Or at least tried. Finals week is not the week to stress out about what food you're eating. You already have enough stress going on to cause an earth quake. Don't add anymore. So finals week is when you stack up on your comfort foods, when you ask Mom to send a box of junk. It's okay. Cry about it. Forgive yourself. And move on. Next week is a new week.

        An excellent way to reduce that stress. Go for a run. Lift some weights. Do some yoga. Just take your mind off that dark cloud of stress that's been hovering over you all semester. You can allow yourself a break.

       I know a lot of people pull all nighters during finals week, and I just think that is absolutely insane. Finals are when you need to be the most well rested. Not the most sleep deprived. I promise, there are enough hours in the day to study and still get a reasonable amount of sleep. I even suggest naps :) they've served me well over the past couple of weeks.

You can do this, I promise. As important as school is, grades do not define you. There are more important things in life. And that's hard for me to say, because I definitely like getting my A's. But, you know, just keep some perspective, focus, crank those headphones, charge those laptops, and make sure you have a good supply of coffee on hand. The week'll be over before you know it!

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