Tuesday, November 26, 2013

End of Semester Survival 101

As the semester starts to draw to a close in college the work quickly starts to pile up and it is easy to get overwhelmed. There is a never ending stream of projects, papers, and exams that all have to get done before finals week. It is very easy to get overwhelmed, which is why I want to share a few tips I have learned from my own experience that I hope can help you survive the end of semester crunch!

1. Make a list
Make a list of all the things you have to do before the end of the semester. Include all projects, papers, and exams AND the dates when everything is due.

2. Make a schedule
From your giant to do list, that includes due dates, make a schedule for yourself. Every day make a list of things that you need to get done based on your due dates. Put the things that must get done at the top of your list, prioritize!, and the less important items towards the bottom. This may sound trivial but making a list of things that have to get done and checking them off as you go will help keep you organized and moving along efficiently. 

3. Beat Procrastination, Start NOW!
Procrastination really starts to set in at the end of the semester, but you don't have to fall victim to it! The sooner you get started on research papers and studying for final exams the more time (and less stress!) you will be saving yourself come finals week. I know it is lame to stay in on a Friday night and write a research paper that isn't due for two weeks, but when you finish it early you have more time to edit and make tweaks. Plus you won't have to stay up all night writing it the night before, which guarantees you a better grade than the kid who did stay up all night the day before it was due.

You might not think you have time to sleep before finals, but do yourself a favor and go to bed. You are only doing yourself and your brain more harm than good by attempting to stay up all night buried in an organic chemistry book. Your brain and your body need rest. Plus you will retain information better when you are rested. 

5. Eat Healthy
Crazy idea coming from a health food blogger right?! In all seriousness eating healthy foods as opposed to a candy bar or whatever else will fuel your body. Fuel your body with protein and fiber so you can stay full longer and have energy. Eating an apple, or a homemade protein barbefore an exam is a much better idea than eating a candy and it won't leave you feeling sick.

6. Ask Questions
Don't be afraid to speak up and ask your professors questions. If you're not comfortable asking questions in front of the whole class then go up and ask your professor before or after class, shoot him/her an email, or drop by their office hours. Professors are paid by YOU so don't be afraid to ask questions. Remember without students professors would not have jobs!  

7. Form a Study Group
Study groups work really well for some people and they don't work at all for other people. If you're a person who can study efficiently and effectively in a study group, then by all means form one with fellow classmates. There is a group of us in one of my broadcasting classes that get together and make note cards of vocabulary terms and we take turns quizzing each other on the terms. It is a fun way to study plus we all have hints that we share with each other on how to remember certain terms.

8. Review Old Exams, Quizzes, and Assignments
Going over old exams is a great way to study for the final. In classes where the finals are cumulative, those are the worst!, old exams give you an idea of what may be asked on the final. Or if your professor is lazy like one of mine was last semester the final is literally taken from the other exams and doesn't test over new material. Either way look over old exams you will be doing yourself a favor.

9. Take a Break
Do no study for hours on end you won't be doing yourself any good. Research shows that taking breaks every 20 or 30 minutes is the most effective way to study. Get up and go for a walk, change the scenery, any way you choose just give your brain a break instead of trying to cram tons of facts in all at once.

10. Don't Give Up
Especially for freshmen finals week can be really scary. College finals are a lot harder than high school finals ever were, but I promise you will survive. Eat right, get enough sleep, and start studying early and finals will be a breeze. Before you know it you will get to go home for Christmas Break and snuggle with your puppy, or whatever kind of pet you have, and relax all cozied by the fire. 

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

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