The Week Before Finals: 4 Secrets to Surviving the Home Stretch

You’ve made it through the past two and a half months. You’ve survived the all-nighters, the essays, the midterms and the exams. Then why does it feel like there’s just no possible way to get through these next couple weeks until the sweet relief of winter break?

It seems that it’s the same problem every semester. Projects, papers and presentations are assigned in late-September/early-October, and we think, “I’ll deal with that later, I have time.”  Thanksgiving break rolls around, and you take a quick look at your planner and panic.  You have three weeks to get all of those things done that you decided to “deal with later,” before you can even study for finals. Panic mode sets in and you think “I’m never going to do this again.”

But you always do.

So what do you do in this situation?  Well, there’s the obvious solution, get your crap done earlier in the semester. As college students, however, this isn’t always possible.  We have jobs, other classes, and if it were possible, we could pass a class in procrastination with flying colors. If you’re one of those rare gems that keeps on top of all of their work, kudos to you. If only we could all be that organized.

When you’re sitting at your desk with a stack of assignments a foot high, with three weeks to get it all done, the best thing to do is relax. Take a deep breath.  Drink a cup of tea.

I know, I know, how can you relax with such work looming ahead of you? But better yet, how will you get through that work if you don’t relax?

Tip #1 – Organize your work according to due date.  

Set aside a designated time that you will crack down and get to work.  Don’t spend too much time at once, though.  You’ll burn yourself out. A time like, 3:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 is good.  You don’t want to do it too early in the morning, because you’ll focus on all of the other things you have to get done during the day.  But you don’t want to do it too late at night, because you’ll rush through everything, so that you can go to sleep.

Tip #2 – Block out distractions.  

Close out Facebook, or hear me out, deactivate it for those few weeks that you’ll be focusing on your schoolwork.  I’ve done this before, and it’s alarming how much time you actually waste procrastinating on the internet.  It doesn’t help that so much schoolwork is done on computers. Put your cell phone in another room and turn off the TV. You can survive a few hours cut off from society.

Tip #3 – If you need a break, take it.  

Just don’t give yourself too much time.  Ten minutes, at most.  If you’re hungry, make a snack.  If you want to check your phone, go ahead.  But after you do, keep it in the other room. Satisfy your hunger, then get back to work.  If you spend too much time on your break, it’ll be tough to get back in the groove you were just in.

Tip #4 – Reward yourself when you finish.

Watch your favorite TV show or go see a movie with your friends.  It’ll be like giving yourself a pat on the back for cracking down and doing what you needed to do.  Once you finish everything for the semester (finals too) buy yourself something nice!

Do this as many times as it takes for you to get all caught up with your work.  It may seem hopeless, but the end is in sight.  Before you know it, you’ll be heading home after your last final, with your whole break to look forward to.

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Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski is a senior at Eastern Michigan University, double majoring in journalism and communications. She writes for her college newspaper, mostly covering local bands and interns at 89x, a metro-Detroit radio station. She frequents the movie theater and when she has free time, she likes spend it with her friends. Carmen hopes to one day be a music journalist.