Take it easy finals week

Natalie Moses

It’s that time of the semester again — when every single professor forgets that you have other classes and decides to dump 15 weeks worth of assignments on you with only 15 minutes to complete them. At this point, things that are normally important like eating and sleeping become long-lost luxuries, and your eyes are so crazy from stress that people mistake you for Charlie Sheen. Yes, it’s a glorious time! This, of course, is sarcasm. It’s very easy to lose your mind in these last few hectic weeks before finals, especially with the nice weather and all the wonderful end-of-semester parties going on. But it is an absolute must that you try to stay on track because right now is a turning point: you could give up and throw away the grades you worked hard for all semester, or you could finish strong and start the summer off with something to be proud of. The good news is, with a little bit of time management and hard work, you can still enjoy all of the end-of-semester activities without completely bombing finals.

The first step in staying ahead for the next two weeks is taking care of your body. You need your energy and health more than ever right now. Skipping a few meals to get in extra studying and pulling all nighters may seem like the only option, but those seemingly innocent habits will catch up to you. Coffee and energy drinks can only take you so far, but a good night’s sleep is much more important than another few hours of studying. To fix this, you might need to just focus more on studying and doing work during the day.

“When I stay up extra late to study, I lose focus easily,” said Jesse Hall, freshman aeronautics major. “When I’m tired, I end up reading the same line over and over again. It’s easier and more efficient to just study during the day.”

Instead of going to the Hub in between classes, run over to the library and catch a few hours of studying then. If you already have the extra time in your day, then utilize that instead of cutting into your precious sleep time.

Speaking of already having studying tools, chances are if you go to class and pay attention, then studying might be easier than you think. Liz Schubert, freshman news major, points out that a great way to study is to physically rewrite your notes.

“I try to think of as many acronyms as possible, and I make them as crazy as possible.” – Nick Catalano

“Re-writing notes actually helps you memorize them better,” Schubert said. But the trick is rewriting them, not just typing. “When you write something instead of typing it, you pay more attention to what is being said.” So even if you type your notes, pick up a pen or pencil and rewrite them in a clear, organized and easy-to-understand way. When you go back to read them and study, you’ll have more of an idea of what’s there.

For some subjects though, simply rereading and rewriting notes is not going to cut it. When there are dates, names or important terms (especially when they need to be in order) that are just impossible to memorize, utilize pneumonic devices. Yes, just like how the old phrase “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” helped us remember the order of the planets as a child.

Nick Catalano, freshman deaf education major, uses this system all the time. “I try to think of as many acronyms as possible, and I make them as crazy as possible,” he said. The crazier the acronym, the more likely he is to remember it.

“My studying is just practicing.” – Amanda Smoot

Just like using pneumonic devices, there are some studying methods we learned in elementary school that seem to stick for some people. Taylor Shubeta, freshman nursing major, has plenty of difficult terms and concepts to learn. She uses the tried and true method of flashcards to learn. “Saying stuff out loud really helps me learn better, too,” she said.

In other subjects, the finals are more hands on. For example, Amanda Smoot, freshman music major, said her finals are mostly practical instead of written. “My studying is just practicing,” she says. But the key to actually remembering what she is practicing? “Repetition.”

If seeing what other students like to do didn’t help with any studying tips, here’s something to consider: the professors are there to help you. Many set up group study times and even set up more office hours around this time to provide extra help. If not, just ask. If you take the time to show you care, chances are the professor is going to want to help you.

Once finals week actually comes along, something to keep in mind is to stay calm. There is no sense in fretting about a test after you take it because once it is done, there is nothing you can do! So don’t make yourself go crazy; work hard, but get some sleep and DO let yourself have some fun this weekend. After all, even though this is the weekend before finals, it is also the last weekend of the semester — enjoy it!

Contact Natalie Moses at [email protected].