Tips to Finish The Semester Strong
For college students all around, we have reached the near end of the fall semester. We have all just finished our fall break and we’re already missing our beds back at home. This is also the time of the semester where things start to catch up on you. You haven’t had “early semester pep” in your tank for quite some time, any energy you have left was used during your last round of exams, and the sight of the end seems too far away to get excited about. Fortunately, there are ways to make it through the rest of the semester without burning out completely.
Odds are at this point in your semester, your backpack is messy, disorganized, if there even is a pencil in there, it’s broken, and there’s at least one piece of paper crinkled and/or in the wrong folder. It’s time to get organized.
First, focus on your physical belongings that go in your backpack. This includes your classwork, headphones, writing utensils, Tylenol, and so on. Everything has its place. You know it does, it had a place a few months ago when your backpack still looked like a productive student wore it. Scattering all of your belongings out on the floor or on your bed, placing them in the correct piles is the easiest way to declutter.
When it comes to your computer, make sure your desktop doesn’t look like a digital tornado came through it.
Using a flash drive, sort through all the files and properly label them so it will be easier to navigate during finals week or a future semester.
Get Enough Sleep
While it may seem like a competition sometimes among friends in college on whom sleeps the least amount in a given night, it’s not a challenge you should take on. While college students rarely receive eight hours a night, it’s important to make sure you are well rested, both physically and mentally. This means allowing yourself to deep sleep for as long as you can. This does not mean falling asleep on your couch while binge-watching The Office for the fourth time. This means in your bed, with no belongings on it, resting to your best ability.
Schedule Yourself Properly
Having some type of calendar is crucial, whether this is a physical calendar, a whiteboard calendar, an electronic calendar, or a daily planner app of some kind.
Once you know what kind of calendar you want to use, figure out how you plan on scheduling yourself. This varies for everyone because of their workload, and their own personal limitations. For instance, if you know you have a 6-8 page paper due next week, it might be a smart idea to move around a study group to make time.
When creating your schedule, be sure to think about how long assignments will take you, a time for meals, and some free time as well. If you schedule yourself properly, you should have less stress on your shoulders when it comes to finals week.
Understand Your Weaknesses
I personally struggle with staying on task. I check social media when writing papers, look for food to eat and find conversations so I can avoid my assignment. Understanding this helps me make adjustments and use tools that can assist with this.
When writing a paper, I use Cold Turkey Writer. This is a computer application that turns your computer into a typewriter. It only allows you to write and won’t allow you to quit the application until you reach a certain number of words, or after a certain period of time.
If you too get distracted, there are always browser extensions that prevent you from accessing certain sites until a certain period of time has passed. Since most of the time, you check your phone when it vibrates, turn it on Do Not Disturb. That way it won’t vibrate and you won’t have the urge to check it.
Depending on your weaknesses, there are tools to help. Since it’s nearly the end of the semester, you understand what you have been lacking in thus far. If you struggle with studying, try a different study space or try listening with or without music. The first step in solving a problem is understanding there is one.
Take Study Breaks - The Pomodoro Technique
I understand that studying is awful. It’s draining, it’s difficult, and at times it makes you contemplate dropping out altogether, BUT you don’t have to do that. The Pomodoro Technique is a method used to break up your school work in small, work-intensive intervals.
Using this technique gives you small incentives to work harder and breaks up your work to more manageable chunks. It is very difficult to maintain a positive drive toward studying all the time, so if you give yourself incentives, like small breaks, you can power through it all. If you are the type of person that needs another incentive, reward yourself with a Hershey Kiss in each of those study breaks, but be sure to leave them out of sight.
Realize It’s The Final Stretch
This is it. You are nearly done. That can either be a good thing, or a bad thing. Since the semester is coming to a close, you don’t have a huge amount of time to fix everything or keep up the great work you have been doing. This is the point in the semester where students start dropping classes because it’s too late to fix everything. Try and avoid that. If you have a C+ or even a D+, you have the time to get those grades up. Most classes have a medium sized project and the final left. That still leaves some points you can add to your grade.
Realizing that there is limited time left, you become aware of what needs to get done and how you need to pull it off. Hopefully, you have been taking advantages of resources on campus such as tutoring, the library, advising, and counseling. Counseling is a great resource if you struggle with stress management. Myself, being one of those people, learned tricks on how to stay level-headed, especially during the final stretch of the semester.
You have worked hard so far this semester, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, the semester is almost finished whether you want it to be or not. The best thing you can do is be ready for it.
This blog post was written by William Careri, General Body Member.