The last few weeks of class can often be the hardest. You get a little antsy and count down the days until summer, or graduation… or both! The tricky part becomes balancing the books and your strong desire to just be done already. You can’t lose focus because although it may be hard to believe, your grades keep counting—right until the end! You don’t want to be stuck with less than desirable letters to stick on the fridge.
Your final grade report can go one of a few ways. If you work hard and keep on track, your final set of scores will leave a smile on your face. Good for you. Good grades in college, especially in the spring semester, are not an easy feat. Enjoy your few months off and rest up for next semester. Good grades are great, but getting them consistently is even better.
Now maybe you worked hard, but spring fever got the best of you. Not to worry. If you aren’t 100% pleased with the way your final report looks, take time to reflect. Did you turn everything in? Did you complete all of your assignments? Still not happy? Maybe it’s time to talk to your professor. There is no harm in asking for guidance on how to do better next time!
Just because you didn’t finish out the semester with the grades you wanted doesn’t mean you have to let it ruin your summer. Now is the time to think about your habits and academic behaviors. Were the grades really that big of a surprise, or could you have seen them coming? They don’t have to be a GPA death sentence, but you might want to consider turning this batch of grades into a wake up call.
How many semesters do you have left? What actions are you willing to take to catch up?
If this was your senior year, your options may be limited. However, not to worry. You graduated. You made it! Pat yourself on the back. The real world focuses on more than just grades and GPA. Just keep growing and evolving yourself to make up for any spring fever slack that shows up on that last semester transcript!
If you’re a junior, you can breathe. You have two semesters left to make a difference. Take these last courses seriously and go out with a bang! Make sure to utilize all of your school resources. Most campuses have tutoring centers, or writing centers. Have these offices check your papers, or spruce up your assignments to ensure you gain the most points. Every little bit helps!
Sophomores, you have half of your college career left so spend it wisely. Think about the last two years and examine what worked and what methods need a little tuning up. You have time to switch majors, retake courses, or dabble in something new! Don’t give up! Take your time and make sure you are doing what is best for you—and your transcript!
To the outgoing freshmen—you made it through your first year! Was it all you hoped for and expected? Hopefully you made the adjustment. If not, take notes. You have three years to make up for any little blips on your record. That’s what freshman year is for—trying new things, and messing up a few times! We all went through it, and we all made it out alive! So will you!
To the incoming freshmen: This is your time! Buckle up for this upcoming ride. You will do great, just remember—school comes first. Don’t get lost in the excitement of the first couple of months. College is amazing and you should definitely have fun, however make sure you take note of where the library is! (And not just to show to your parents on tours either! Actually use it!)
- Ring Queen
Finals week, the week that students dread every semester from the time the syllabus is handed out. The week you live inside your textbooks and your viciously scrambled notes/handouts. While there isn’t much you can do about what your schedule during that week, there are a few things that you can do to help prepare yourself for this very stressful period of time when most people’s veins are full of coffee, red bull, 5 hour energy, and whatever else they need to keep their system running until that last test is handed in.
As a college student, if you haven’t pulled an all-nighter yet you are incredibly prepared, taking some easy classes, or you have no social life. Sleep deprivation is something that most college students will eventually encounter, and you will have to figure out a way to deal with it one way or another. Here are tips and suggestions for those who may not be getting their full 8 hours of sleep.
1. Sleep well 2 nights before a big exam. Studies have shown that getting decent sleep the night before an exam is not nearly as crucial as getting a good night’s sleep 2 nights before the exam. For example, if your test is on a Wednesday, make sure you sleep well on Monday night. Believe me, this is one of the best tips I’ve ever used and it helps tremendously.
2. Take study breaks. Cramming is not ideal when it comes to studying, especially for finals, but there are some times where you just don’t have a choice. If you have to cram the night before a final make sure to take study breaks to get your mind off of the subject matter. Whether it is grabbing some food, playing the new Modern Warfare 3, or going for a jog make sure to take breaks. By studying the subject matter in blocks you more likely to retain the information and be able to understand a larger volume of information than you would think you could.
3. Manage your time based on your schedule. If you’ve got your tests spread out over the week, take time to recognize which tests are the most important. This way you know which nights you will need to stay up late to focus in on that chapter that you didn’t understand. Try to plan a block of extended time that you can head to the library and study.
4. Eat healthy and consistently. The last thing you want to do when staying awake long nights is eat candy and skip meals. Try to keep and maintain a healthy diet, as your body probably needs it the most with all of the stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. For snacks, you should consider yogurt, whole grain cereal, trail mix, or an apple.
5. Only use energy drinks/sodas/coffee when necessary. As a rule of thumb, I will not drink anything caffeinated after 5pm, and I will not drink more than 2 energy drinks a day. Try to stick with foods and drinks that have a natural energy boost in them so that your body is not out of whack when you are ready to finally get some sleep. Eat an apple instead of drinking coffee, or head over to Jamba Juice or Smoothie King and grab a shake.
6. Foods/drinks to help enhance sleep. When you are finally ready to go to bed, there are some foods/drinks that will naturally help you get in the mood to rest well and be ready to take on any exam. I know it may sound a little strange, but try eating breakfast foods right before you head to bed. Grab a banana, drink a large glass of milk, eggs, oatmeal, hummus and bread, turkey, etc. These foods contain certain amino acids that help produce melatonin, and also ones that have tryptophan in them. These are very helpful when trying to get some rest.
7. Exercise regularly. Since you are depriving yourself of sleep there are some repercussions that will affect the way you go about your day. By exercising, you will help your body stay well-oiled and fully functional. The last thing you want is to get sick during your finals.
I’m reading Economics: Principles, Problems, and Policies
I don’t know how hectic your school schedule is, but it’s getting close to finals week for me. Finals are a time of the year when a student will either sink or swim. Over the past 3 years, I have done both. However, in that time I’ve learned ways to get through finals week without jamming a power drill in my forehead. And because you’re such a beautiful audience, I will share the ages old secrets with you all. Just hide your power drill and follow these guidelines, and you should be golden.
1. Create a schedule for studying.
Do this as soon as you figure out when your finals will be. It will save you from the trap of having 3 finals and one day to study for all of them. Some teachers will let you reschedule finals if you have this many, but you should always stay on top of this yourself. Create a schedule of the entire week, giving your most important finals priority over ones that may be easier or not matter quite as much.
2. Are your friends done with finals? Are they partying? Forget about them!
Most of us have been in the position where we have 1 or 2 more finals to go, and some (or all) of our friends are done with theirs. Nobody wants to be stuck in the library all night while their friends are at the bar partying harder than David Hasselhoff. You have to get in the zone, find a quiet place to study, and do work. There is plenty of time to party on the weekends.
3. Make sure to get a decent amount of sleep.
This is hard for me, being one of those people who is attempting to go to sleep at 3am everyday. What I do is try to stay at the library until 30 minutes before I plan to go to bed. When it’s time to sleep, don’t watch TV, play on the Internet (unless you’re ordering from eCampus.com’s NEW college clothing store), or play video games. You want everything you just learned to remain fresh in your brain.
4. Know your best strategies.
We all have our own ways of studying. Do what works for you. What I do is create a study guide, hand-write it all, study note cards, then try to write everything I know off the top of my head. After that it’s rinse and repeat until I feel confident (or I have to leave the library because some freshman is blabbering on about someone’s Facebook status for an hour).
5. Study groups – split up the work, and get to work.
Try this whenever possible. Mention that you’re trying to organize a study group a day or two before your final. Break down the study guide into sections and have everybody do a section. This will complete the study guide in no time. Then you can move on to your own strategies, with or without the group.
6. Find a song that helps you deal with the stress.
Finals week are no doubt the most stressful part of college. Don’t let the stress take control. Find a song that will calm you down or one that reminds you of home. I like Bob Marley- Everything is gonna be alright. It takes me to my happy place. Between that and the thought of being home for the holidays, my stress almost seems worth it.
7. Have a reward waiting for you at home.
I like to save one of my favorite beers for the moment I finish studying. It helps me knowing that I have something to look forward to after the 8-hour study sessions. Be sure to buy it before you start studying. Why? Last night I was at the library from 8 pm to 2:30am. It just so happens that bars close and alcohol sales stop at 2:30 here.
8. Keep some candy or fruit snacks in your backpack.
This is a good way to momentarily take your mind off of things when feeling restless. When you start to feel the stress or fatigue, eat some sour gummy worms. 60 seconds later you will realize that you need to get back to reality, but for those 60 seconds, your brain is thinking happy thoughts.
Final note: I hope that these tips help you make solid studying decisions. Give it your best and let your brain do the rest. When the smoke clears, you will survive finals week.
I’m reading Living Religions
With a few months of college classes under your belt, everyone has most like had at least one exam down from each class. Freshmen have now figured out that college courses are not exactly as easy as high school classes. For those people who thought high school was a breeze and flew by with great grades and not much studying, college is a huge wake up call. That is how I felt coming into my freshman year and I became very overwhelmed. After the last few years, I have learned some great study tips that make college feel less difficult and more manageable.
Organize Your Work
- Try to keep your papers, notes, and exams all divided between your different classes and all in one place. This makes referring back to notes while studying much easier!
Meet People in Every Class
- Studying alone is not always the easiest or most exciting way to remember information for classes. It is nice to have a discussion group to talk through the information with, and it has been shown to help memorize much easier. Also, everyone has those days that they want to have a lazy day and skip a class and knowing people makes it easy to get the notes you missed.
Talk to Professors
- Every professor loves when students stop by their office hours. When they have 2 hour office hour study blocks to meet with people and no one shows up, it is pretty boring. Even if you have just one question don’t hesitate to go. This will also get your name in their mind so they want to help you out.
Listen to Light Music
- As long as it is not distracting, it never hurts to listen to some relaxing music while just copying note cards or other studying that doesn’t involve a lot of ready.
Eat, and Drink Some Coffee
- Make sure that when having a long studying night that you are keeping nourished. Brain food is very necessary and if you don’t eat enough you are more likely to become tired. If you need an extra boost, have a cup of coffee.
Take Study Breaks
- Studies have shown that if you take a break every 45 minutes, you retain information better and do not become bored and tired. Bring a magazine or take a walk around to stretch your legs.
- It never helps to get all worked up about a big paper or exam. By staying calm and positive, work will get done much quicker and the information you are trying to learn won’t be throw into your worried, stressed brain.
I’m reading Criminal Justice