Hope all of you Seahawks had a great Thanksgiving! A time when most of us go home and enjoy some great food and family ... but wait! What? It's already past Thanksgiving? It's at times like these that even after four years, I'm amazed how quickly the end of the semester sneaks up on me. I find myself in a state of thinking I have endless time to get everything done: homework, projects, work, commitments, interviews, the list goes on and on, and there's only a week left before the end of classes. In the end, it always gets done, however, and from looking around and seeing everyone rushing around, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels the pressure for the end of classes. So how do you keep your sanity through the hustle and bustle of finishing the semester strong while planning for the upcoming holiday season? Well ... I'm not sure I've been successful in staying sane, but I will share what I have done to make it through for these past four years as a Seahawk always caught off guard by the end of the semester.
1.) Make a List: The worst feeling in the world is going into a final exam or a class, seeing that everyone has their nose in their notes studying away, and then realizing ... WAIT! There's a test today. This has happened to me several times, and by making a list of due dates and hanging it up or putting it in your phone (setting reminders), being caught off guard won't be a problem when it comes to exams or paper due dates. It seems like common sense, but most of us can't be bothered to make lists for the entire year's worth of due dates. The end of the semester seems to always be crammed with an especially long list of things that are due, and making a list of these couple of weeks alone has helped me avoid some serious jams. Also, know when the final exams are scheduled for! It's important because it will help you know what to focus on and worry about first. You don't want to be worrying about getting a paper done for next week when you have a final the next day in another class. Simple, but I learned the hard way that it's a great thing to do for yourself.
2.) Set Aside Time To Yourself: When things seem to all be adding up at once, many of us tend to go into hyperdrive and cram too many plans into our agenda in an attempt to get everything done. I've found that it's useful to set aside a day, a night, a morning, whatever it may be where you plan to do nothing at all. I always go back to my agenda and feel much more refreshed and creative when I've had some time to do what I want to do instead of worrying about assignments or due dates.
3.) Sleep! It's tempting to pull all-nighters to finish the final project, get yourself some Monsters, a couple coffees from the Hawk's Nest, and go in on that pile of work. Unless you have no choice, this is always going to end in misery. I've never been glad that I waited to pull an all-nighter, and while procrastinating may get you time to spend as you wish, in the meantime it makes getting everything done even more stressful when you can barely keep your eyes open. If you need to stay up late, caffeine is never the best option, for me anyways. It always makes it harder to focus. Taking a short walk outside is a better way to wake up if you feel groggy. The best way, though, is to plan enough time during waking hours so that you can sleep a full night without worrying. Not only is this healthier, but its also a seriously less stressful way of getting everything completed.
4.) Facebook/Twitter/Instagram=Bad: I do it all the time, I have my Facebook, Twitter, and Google Chat up in the background while I'm working and im texting [sic] at the same time. After an hour has gone by, all I see is my name on top of the page. Some people go to extreme lengths to deactivate their accounts during finals time, but I don't think that's necessary. As long as you agree to yourself that you will check these sites once an hour for five minutes, it will make you more productive and will give you something to look forward to. I find that when I'm completely focused on work and not distracted by lots of sites, I get more done, learn more, and the time flies. Let's face it, most people's statuses are about how they wish they weren't studying anyway...
5.) Find a Study Partner: Some people can get distracted too easily with someone else in the room, but for others (like me) it's often motivating to have someone doing work with you. Set aside study sessions with a classmate. Not only will it motivate you to work more, but it will also give you the opportunity to ask questions if you are not sure about assignments or if you don't remember what your teacher said about optimal conditions for duckweed growth (or something like that). You have to know if you're the type of person who can handle this, but if you are, it is a huge help.
It's never a time that's not stressful. So many things crammed into a few short weeks and the holiday season looming on the horizon. These are some things I always take into consideration and I hope they help at least some of you. Work hard, be nice, set up rewards for yourself, and plan ahead, and you will minimize the madness that comes with finals week. Good luck, see you in the library! BTW congrats to our football team on their wins and to the cast of Legally Blonde — I'm excited to see it!