Guess what?! Finals are coming up. Not the best of times but not the worst. I honestly enjoyed when finals came around because that meant break was right around the corner. I loved college, absolutely loved it but that month long break between Autumn and Spring semester is nice and alleviating. You finally get to restart your brain and not have havoc in your life. Finals are a time when you spend an ample amount of time in the library and stress over what percentage you need to pass the class if you slacked off. I’m not promoting slacking off and just getting by in class, never. Those classes are important to your academic career and what you plan to go into. Let’s be real, you need stellar grades and a certain GPA to maintain the major and school you are in. Don’t flunk out because you don’t want to study or you would rather Netflix and Netflix.
Thanksgiving Break is literally here and that means your finals are about to pounce on you. Don’t let that happen to you where you aren’t ready and you fall behind. Succeed, I want everyone to succeed. If you haven’t been paying attention in class, you still have a chance. I will never say that two weeks is not enough time to learn information. I took a class where I did terrible on one exam but she gave four exams and then a make-up exam that covered everything – I wasn’t going to take this exam, I was just going to accept the C+ and call it a day. I don’t know what I did but as I was taking the fourth exam and breezing through it, I just felt like I needed to take that fifth exam. It was optional and cumulative – two things people steer clear from when they get the chance. I took that exam and got an A- only because I had studied ALL the information we had learned throughout the semester – the stuff from previous exams was like a refresher and the new information was more my focus. I did it though in those two weeks. I studied and studied, I made notecards and color coded my notes, I really focused on doing great.
There’s always time, don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s a lie. You have all the time in the world to learn and flourish your mind. You can learn so much in a certain amount of time if you dedicate yourself. If you make a plan and follow it, it won’t be so bad. I promise you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s why I present to you my way of things that have helped me excel.
With the needing twelve or more credits to be considered a full-time student, you’re going to be taking three or more classes. That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you compare it to your high school schedule, it really does seem like nothing. But those classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays that are almost two hours long, those need a lot of time dedicated to them to keep up. You get a lot of information in those two hours for two days a week and you need to find time to dedicate to that vast amount of information. Not only that but if you have Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes, there goes at least an hour of information that you need to study. Keeping up is the key and scheduling different times will help you out. Not only that but if you really think about it, you can’t study back to back because it’s going to mix everything together. Time increments are your best friend. 30 minutes of studying, 15 minutes of a dance party and snacks is the way to go. Meet with your professor or classmates and go over questions you have, take advantage of scheduling whatever can help you succeed.
Just remember that what you surround yourself with is going to either distract you or keep your attention. Your friends can either encourage you or distract you but they can also be the people that make your breaks fun and brain smile after all the hard work. You just have to make sure they’re on the same track as you and they want to accomplish something like yourself. It’s also nice to be in a place that isn’t too quiet where your thoughts are attacking you but with some type of sound like a playlist or Pandora/Spotify Study List. Also, changing up your location can help you concentrate. It seems weird but if you move from room to room, it can help the flow and keep you focused. Be somewhere that’ll be comfortable if you’re stuck there for hours, it sucks being in a wooden chair and having a sore back or butt. Delete your social media apps for the time you blocked out for studying, the information does not get erased I promise. There are sites online to block social media, use them. Make your environment a distraction-free zone.
This might seem complicated with your overflowing stack of notes and clothes thrown about your room but being organized in college is key. In general, in life you need organization. There’s a place for everything even though we don’t always put it there. With your classes, it’s best to transfer written notes to the computer, why? I found that when I did that, I was reviewing my notes as I entered them into the computer and they were more legible because I write in cursive and sometimes, it merges together a lot. If you prefer to keep handwritten notes, it still doesn’t hurt to rewrite them especially with colorful pens that can depict the headers and subjects. I found it fun to rewrite my notes in color and it was fun to get creative with it, it doesn’t hurt if you add lettering to your headers and make your notes pretty especially if that keeps you focused. Notecards are your best friend when you have so much to memorize and want someone to quiz you – my parents were my best friends when it came to my notecards and flashing words at me.
I promise the freak out and panic is not going to do anything for you. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You have to get out and breathe every once in awhile. Why? It’s essential in these situations. I don’t have research to back it up but as someone that made it out of college and cried about every chemistry, biology, and physics final, it would have been smart if I just stopped and took a break. Take a break from studying, request off from work, go out and breathe for a minute just to destress. These cases are sometimes made to break us. We flip out about the percentage of our grade that the final covers and we forget to just take a moment to decide what we’re going to do and plan the attack to succeed.
Take Care of Yourself
This falls into line with relaxing. You need to make sure that you eat and drink plenty of water. Don’t over-caffeinate so that your heart is racing and pounding out of your chest. Find a tea cup and microwave and make a green tea, something that will relax you plus it aides in a lot or drink another type of tea or water. Make sure you are getting enough nutrients, keep your fuel up. I poured into grapes and apples because they were easy to eat and access on campus. I did have my share of M&Ms to make sure my chocolate cravings were indulged in. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are essential my friends. I want you to stuff yourself so you have brain fuel.
Yes, sleep. Don’t cut into those precious hours where your brain and you finally get a break. Cherish it. Let it pull you in and don’t let go until your alarm goes off. You need to get the right amount of sleep especially during finals week. You don’t wan tot be delirious or dozing off during a final. Lack of sleep results in a lack of focus and concentration. Please remember to do this. Don’t take away precious hours that your body is going to use to refuel. Don’t skip your sleep!
You can do this. There is no reason to ever doubt yourself. That moment you hit a trivial question, don’t panic ever and throw yourself off. You can easily come back to an answer especially because future questions can have hints that will help your mind find the answer. You know everything, it’s just hidden behind everything else and you just need to unravel it all. A test does not define your intelligence, don’t let anyone ever implement that thought into your head. A test only works into your grade and defines what you learn, what the teacher taught and how you went out of the way to learn it. You are smart despite anything anyone ever says so just remember that.
Now as you start to prepare, make sure to not crack under the pressure of school. Study what you need to study and take what you learn and apply it to different situations. At the end of the day if you gave it your best, that’s all you can do. I wish you all well! Share any tips you find useful in your own finals journey, we can all benefit from trying new things and ways to focus. Any tips?