It’s that time of year again. The ski season has been over for over a month and since then all of the student-athletes have been working hard to catch up academically.
5 years, 10 finals weeks, and 144 credits later; here are some of the tricks that got me through the most stressful weeks of the year.
1. Get some exercise: It’s no secret that studying can make your brain feel like mashed potatoes. Getting out and moving around for a little bit does wonders for being able to re-organize the brain. Even all you can manage is a 15 minute power jog around the track, it’ll be well worth it.
2. Take over an abandoned classroom: They are usually really quiet, have one computer so there’s no one else to distract you, and they have lots of chalkboard/whiteboard space to work out old homework problems and practice questions. I’m especially a fan of the classrooms without windows (for studying purposes) due to the lack of day dreaming possibilities.
3. Unless you absolutely need it, turn off the wi-fi on your computer: Facebook, Tumbler, Reddit, Twitter, Cat Videos on YouTube, you name it… All of these can be really fun, but will not help on exam day. One year I tried watching Hercules to study for a Greek Gods and Goddesses exam. It didn’t work.
4. Bring appropriate rations of food to campus: If you’re going to be spending 12+ hours of the day on campus, it’s important that you have the appropriate amount of food with you. Too much and you’ll procrastinate by eating the day away. Not enough food and your mind will drift towards the refrigerator. Healthy snacks are nice, but treating yourself to some M&M’s can really turn the study session around (see number 8)
5. Don’t forget your headphones (even if you don’t want to listen to music): There seems to be an unspoken rule that if someone has headphones on they are concentrating hard and do not want to be bothered. If there isn’t a quite place to study, this alternative has worked for me on multiple occasions. It is especially nice if you have a pair that blocks out surrounding noise.
6. Figure out what is “good enough”: It is really important to keep in perspective what amount of work is adequate for achieving the goals of your courses. Ideally this will help reduce stress because it takes into account all of the hard work you have done earlier in the semester. Although it’s still a form of procrastination, this can provide a realistic goal to reach towards other than a 100%
7. Prioritize: Similar to number 6, choosing which courses need more attention is super helpful when determining what studying needs to happen and when. By prioritizing and allotting specific time for each exam, you can ensure that enough time will be spent on each one to reach your “good enough” benchmark.
8. Chocolate or other baked goods: One of the few perks of having your birthday or the holidays during finals week, is that there always seems to be cake and other goodies around. Chocolate or other baked goods make a wonderful reward after a long day of studying or testing.
9. It’s not too late to ask for help: Traveling the entire first half of spring semester for skiing makes the second half really challenging. On more than one occasion I have had a final exam bump me up entire letter grade because I spent the extra time studying and asked my professors for help. Professors want to see their students succeed and are more than happy to help if you also put in the effort.
10. Remember: No matter what you do, time will continue forward at a steady pace.