college

Getting Through Finals

It’s that time of year again. Before we can truly begin to relax and celebrate Christmas students across America have to get through the dreaded and much anticipated, final exams. This is the week that college students await all semester, the make-it-or-break-it point in their college careers. This is when it truly matters what type of student you’ve been all semester: the slacker, the overachiever (lets face it, not likely), the one who barely scrapes by, the one who doesn’t takes notes but somehow gets A’s on all the tests, the one who never shows up to class but somehow remembers where the room is for test days. I could go on and on, but the truth is you have had the chance all year to meet or be all these students in your classes in college.

Final exams are known to throw kids over the edge. This time of year you start to see students camp out in the libraries with pillows, blankets, textbooks and lots of coffee. I assume most everyone has their own study habits and stress relieving mechanisms by now, but in case you’ve needed some extra de-stressing suggestions in this extra stressful time, here are some ways that I study and keep myself sane during finals week:

Work hard now, it’ll pay off:

Even though finals make me want to pull my hair out, I know after all the grueling tests I get to go home and do nothing for a month and a half during this wonderful thing called winter break. During finals week I take the philosophy “sleep is for the weak” and then quickly flip it around once finals are done to “sleep for a week”. Although, I don’t take it literally, just in the sense of all the stress put into preparing for finals week is only temporary. Devoting so much of my time to studying for finals week is hard and draining work, but it’ll all pay off after the exams are over and all I have to look forward to is being with my family and friends over the break.

I definitely do not want to encourage you to give up sleeping the week of finals but just think about this during finals week; put in a little extra work now so that you don’t have to stress about is later. Work hard now so you can reap the benefits once you get that killer grade back on your final exam and all the stress of that class is gone.

It’s okay to take breaks:

To keep the motivation and productive studying up for so long, you’ll most likely need to take some breaks every now and then. I cannot think of anything more horrible than studying for 4 hours straight without looking up from my textbook. After a while, all the words just mush together and my eyes get tired of reading. Consider, maybe every hour, giving yourself a little break from studying to let your eyes and mind rest. What I like to do is watch a short funny youtube video and then go right back to studying. If I give myself the temptation of watching 10 minutes of Netflix then I know I won’t stop until the episode is over, which turned my 10-minute break into a 45-minute break. Here are 5 youtube videos, all under 10 minutes that are great breaks to take during your endless studying for finals.

I am definitely a huge Office fan so I had to put in this iconic scene. Get ready to sing, dance, and be slightly terrified.

What’s funnier than Ellen DeGeneres causing a ruckus? Ellen and Michelle Obama causing a ruckus while figuring out how to shop at a CVS! (Plus look at her forearms!)

I found this video my freshman year of high school and for some reason, it has stuck with me since. It’s the shortest of the 5 so if you just need a quick laugh, I recommend this one.

“PIVOT!” Enough said.

Last but not least the PickUp Line Song. It might get stuck in your head later but you will not regret it. This song gets an A+ for harmonies and clever pickup lines! Hey, maybe after studying you can try some of these lines out!

Metaphorically eating the elephant:

Yes, attempting to study for final exams is much like eating an elephant. But how does one eat an elephant you may ask? One bite at a time.

How does one study for finals? One “bite” at a time. What this means is don’t overwhelm yourself with everything you need to study. Take it one day at a time, one subject at a time, one chapter at a time, whatever you need to do to make the elephant seem easier to “eat”. What I find helpful is making a list of everything I need to do to prepare for finals week; this means what I have to print out, read, study, turn in, reread, and anything else I need to do to prepare. Once I have the list, I start to mark things off as I complete them. Print out notes, check. Finish online homework, check. Study chapters 16 and 17, check. This is a more practical way to eat an elephant because once I start marking things off my list, the elephant (final exam) seems smaller and less daunting.

Study! (But not too much!):

I know it sounds like I’m making this one up, but I promise you I’m not. Overstudying can seriously affect your performance on your exam. Effects of overstudying include, but are not limited to; sleep deprivation, excess stress, prone to distraction, more likely to forget important facts, prone to make silly mistakes, exhaustion, and feeling burnt out. It’s important to know your limit on studying so you don’t cause reverse effects to happen.

Study buddies:

I am most productive when I study with someone. It doesn’t have to be someone in your same class, it could just be a friend (who also has the same intent of studying). Having someone to sit across from me and keep me off my phone is really helpful, especially when I know that if I were studying alone, well I wouldn’t really be studying. The ability to have small conversations every half hour makes for great study breaks as well.

An ode to John Green:

I have so many reasons to thank John Green and one of them is for making Crash Course videos posted on YouTube (other reasons include writing The Fault in Our Stars and coloring with green sharpie all over his face). If you haven’t already heard about these life-saving videos, they are 10-20 minute long videos that literally give you a “crash course” in whatever subject you need. They have everything from American Literature to Astronomy to World History and everything in between. (Okay so not exactly every subject, but they have a lot of good material that can help when you’re studying.) I like to watch these videos when I’m studying or right before I take a test to get in the mindset of what I’m about to be tested on.

The most important thing I could ever tell you about finals:

Let’s just say you don’t get the grade you wanted on your exam. Can we think about the worst case scenario real quick? Now read and understand this next part very carefully and keep it with you in the back pocket of your mind because it is truth and a great comfort.

Grades are not eternal.

This is not something I just saying to make it sound better if you fail something, but this is truth. I realize I’m getting real spiritual here real fast, but on judgment day the Lord will not care that you made a C in Political Science or that you failed your math class freshman year and had to retake it later. Yes, the Lord wants your best but he also wants you to have Him be at the center of your world, not your grades. I’m just gonna leave this here for you to think about, but one last time, grades are not eternal.

I hope this gave you some comfort and motivation to tackle finals week. Best of luck to everyone and remember, you’re one day closer to Christmas.

Happy studying and stay joyful,

Maz

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