Finish Strong

By: Kendra

Editor’s Note: even if you’re not a current college student, these tips can still be applied to major projects or deadlines you have in your work.

Here’s some crazy news: we only have two weeks of class before finals week. As we all know the end of the semester is always a busy, stressful, and overwhelming time. This semester is a bit different as we are all learning remotely, so I wanted to provide you with some tips that can help make it more manageable. 

Start Early 
Starting several weeks in advance, begin looking at what you have for finals in each of your classes. Because everything is due within one week, it can often be overwhelming. By starting early, you are able to get a head start on your papers, projects, and studying, so it doesn’t feel so stressful during actual finals week. I also like to work ahead as much as I can several weeks before finals so I don’t have to worry about other assignments when it is time to start studying for finals exams and writing final papers. 

Image: desktop with open paper planner, coffee cup, and dish of paperclips
Text: Finish strong

Know Your Expectations
Every class and every professor is different. Take some time to read through your syllabi for each class to know the expectations your professor has in place for your final. If you are having a final exam, you should know if it is cumulative or not. If it isn’t, know which chapters the exam will be focusing on so you know what to prepare for. It is also helpful to know what type of exams you will be taking — multiple choice, short answer, etc. — as this will also guide your studying. For projects and papers, it is important that you understand the expectations that your professor has. This will help you avoid losing points for not meeting the finals’ requirements. Also, by doing all of this in advance, you will be able to contact your professor if you have any questions. 

Know Your Deadlines
Be sure that you know the dates and times of each of your exams, as well as due dates for projects and papers. Write these down in a planner or add them to your Google Calendar to be sure you don’t forget. There is nothing worse than missing a deadline! 

Break Up Big Tasks  
An additional tip I have is to break up projects or papers into smaller tasks. Here’s an example: If you have a large research paper due at the end of the semester, set yourself a due date for the outline, then split up your writing by sections/topics and give yourself due dates for each of them. Then, add these dates to your planner or Google Calendar to keep track of them. This will help you stay on top of your projects and not have it all come crashing down on you the day before it is due.

Take Breaks
During this time in the semester, it is important to avoid becoming burnt out. To do this, remember to take breaks. Whether you are studying for exams, writing a paper, or working on a project, giving yourself some time to be active, get a snack, or just let your brain rest is crucial. Try to work for an hour and then take 15-20 minutes to let yourself relax. I have gotten really good at remembering to take breaks and it definitely helps me be more productive! 

Prepare for Technical Difficulties
Because we are all learning remotely this semester, I am sure we’ve each experienced some technical difficulties. Be sure you know what to do in these different scenarios and prepare for them. If you have to use a new system or browser to take an exam, practice using it before the actual exam to avoid issues. Know how to contact your professor, too, so that you will be able to quickly get a hold of him or her if something were to go wrong. 

The end of the semester is always bittersweet because it’s exciting to have a break, but then you remember that you have to make it through finals week first. I hope that these tips help you feel as little stress as possible the next few weeks. Good luck on your finals!

Of Possible Interest:
Productivity & Wellness; On the Job – all our blog posts on these topics
Now That You’re on the Job – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Northfolk

So It’s Finals Week Again

By: Cassie

That’s right folks, you know that feeling of impending doom, yeah that means finals week is here again. This point of the semester is all about getting things done. It’s about reaching that goal of finishing your research project, boosting your GPA, trying to get that important internship or job, or maybe just making it through the rest of the semester with your sanity. Meeting these goals may seem like the toughest thing in the world right now, but I’m here to tell you that we are all in the same boat and there are so many people around you who are experiencing the same thing as you.

bulldog-staying-warm

I’ll start with me as an example, I started this blog post five times before I found something I wanted to talk about. That’s right, FIVE times. I was also trying to write this blog post on top of the four group projects I’m working on. I also am thinking about the four final exams that are coming up and how I need to start studying for those. My mind was just in a million places at once and I just couldn’t seem to collect my thoughts. I know that many of you may be having a similar experience right now and that’s why I’m just here to remind you we all are struggling. It is okay to not have it together during these last hectic weeks of the semester. We all have papers piling up. We all have that member of our group project who doesn’t seem to be helping. We all are thinking about all the due dates that are approaching at a rapid pace. It’s okay to be stressed, it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to be overwhelmed. I’m just here to remind you that you have so many resources (like us!) and people around you who are here to support you and tell you that YOU CAN MAKE IT! You are awesome and you can do this!

Also included in today’s post…a cute bulldog. Because who doesn’t love a little virtual pet therapy? (Source)

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Stress Less During Finals

By: PJay

At this point in the semester, most people have probably started their mental breakdowns and sleepless nights already due to finals. Finals are definitely the Devil’s best friend. But while everyone is busy trying to find ways to defeat these crazy exams, I just wanted to drop by and say, you are not the only one stressing over these assessments. As important as these tests are to each and everyone of us, it’s truly important for us to remember what our limits are as humans.

Thinking that the best way to prepare for finals is to drown yourself in course material for days or weeks is really not. Studies have shown that a person can only take up to 40 to 90 minutes of concentrated studying with up to 10 minute breaks (source). Remember that you can not expect to relearn a whole semester worth of materials in the limited couple of weeks before these exams. So don’t beat yourself over if you’re struggling with trying to understand anything. You should try to squeeze in some time for peace.

Luckily, the UMD’s “Stress-less Week in the Library” maybe a possibility for those of you who really need a break before the most hectic week of the semester. This event consists of a week long of activities from December 7th through the 11th with many different types of fun and exciting bundles of joy! From getting free coffee with our one and only Champ, free chair massages to releasing your stress with petting adorable pets and so much more! To find out more information, check out the link: http://www.d.umn.edu/lib/whatsnew/stressless/index.htm.

I’m definitely excited to be attending my first “Stress-Less” week and am truly grateful for the opportunity. I highly encourage you all to attend at least one of these events. Nothing sounds better than receiving free food, drinks, or activities. Remember that we should not be overloading ourselves with intense studying. Work hard, but don’t forget to love and take care of yourself. Good luck everyone.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Finals Week Prep

By: Willow

It’s that time again. Finals are coming, we all see them around the corner. Creeping up on us, ready to make us miserable. So, here is a little meme encouragement, from Bob’s Burgers to you.

You know how it is, the initial realization of how much work you have to do.

Burger 1

You decide you have to lock yourself in your room, only coming out for class and the occasional bathroom break. You’ve failed at this before… But this time it will work!

Burger 2

You start thinking about giving up, getting a labor intensive job and leaving this whole school thing behind. But you can do it!

Burger 3

But then you look over at your friend who has two more exams than you do and they’re both at 8 am!!!!!

Burger 4

All of that aside, it’s time to get down to business. You can do this. I know you can.

Burger 5

Make a list and prioritize what you’re going to do first, listen to some pump-up music and make up your mind to get stuff done.

Burger 6

Work hard, and don’t let anyone interrupt you.

Burger 7

Alright, it’s time. You are walking into your first exam. Take a deep breath, you can do this.

Burger 8

Hopefully that first one went great, but if it didn’t keep your head up. You still got this!

Burger 9

If you’re still feeling low, remember who you are, and that who you are is amazing.

Burger 10

You’re almost done!

Burger 11

Finally you’re done! It’s summer! You did it! I knew you could!

Now go relax.

Burger 12

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Staying on Top at the End of the Semester

By: Chris

The semester may be ending in a couple of weeks but that doesn’t mean the workload is winding down. For many of us, projects and papers are due while finals are looming down on us. This is a perfect opportunity to make sure you are making the most out of your classes while not getting overwhelmed.

Effective study habits

It is important now more than ever to make sure you are efficiently using your time to study for your finals. One tip not many people know is that taking notes by hand can help you remember information for a longer period of time. In a study from Princeton and UCLA they found that processing information is improved when taking notes because you have to actively summarize information. Also remember that if you are trying to learn new information try to find a quiet environment and put down the headphones because it may impair your information retention abilities. And beware of burn out by spacing out your study hours ahead of time to make sure you have enough time to study without cramming at the last minute. Active learning, such as self-testing, is monumentally better than passively re-reading notes. If you would like to learn more about studying better without burning out check this link.

Eating correctly

When school starts to pile up, our diets in college take a hit, which can be detrimental to you studying and focus. It is vital to eat protein in the morning to hold off the hunger until noon time while remembering to eat small healthy foods and drinking plenty of water throughout the day to make the energy last.

Resting

While eating well and studying may be critical to finishing strong this semester one must remember that getting enough sleep is just as important. Unfortunately, for a lot of us it isn’t possible to get a full eight hours so naps during the day have to make up for that. If you’re looking to boost energy, a ten to twenty minute rest will likely suffice. However, any more than that and you risk feeling groggy. If you sleep for a full 90 minutes you can eliminate that feeling while getting some REM sleep. If you’d like to know more about the optimal nap check this link.

Goals

Finally setting goals for what you want to get out of this semester can go a long way to providing direction to your studying. Even just creating a simple but doable list for the day can keep you focused and make you feel accomplished when you finish.

Of Possible Interest:

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