Hello Liberal Arts students and congratulations on making it to finals week! I know it probably seems like the real work is just now starting, but don’t forget to give yourselves some credit for making it this far, you’ve worked hard and you’re so close to finishing fall term and embracing the freedom of winter break! That being said, finals week can definitely be a stressful time and it’s important to take it seriously. I remember my first term freshman year having a minor panic attack the weekend before finals. For me, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this, tests were no big deal in high school and I rarely even studied for them. Soon into my first term at OSU though I realized that was not how things were going to work in college. Because I was still thinking in high school terms I failed my Math 105 midterm and realized that whether or not I passed the class was going to be determined by the grade I earned on the final, now that’s a lot of pressure. I was able to pull through though with a few tricks…
Don’t Cram Study- I know we’ve all done this before, start studying the night before a test, trying to stuff 10 weeks worth of information into our brains in only a few hours. It’s so tempting too, with other fun things happening in the dorms; maybe your roommate is done with their finals and wants to go see a movie, and you’ll just put off studying for a few hours. But I promise, you will regret this later. In order for our brains to actually retain information they need sleep and time to process what we’ve learned, and that can’t happen in two hours. So here’s my tip, make a schedule and stick to it. Study a little bit everyday this week, even if your test isn’t until Friday. This will pay off when you get your grades.
Sleep- Stemming off the no cram studying tip, I also want to emphasize the importance of sleep. It may be tempting to stay up all night to be sure you’re ready for that big test, but I firmly believe that the best thing you can do to help your performance during finals is to be well rested and calm for you test. This will allow you think clearly and ensure that you actually put to use all the information you know.
Communication- I know that by this point you’ve all received this advice probably more times than you can count, but if you are having trouble PLEASE talk to your professor. They may not always come across that way but professors really are there to help you succeed, and in my experience enjoy talking to and working with students. If you are at all confused or concerned about a class, reach out. And if one-on-one office hours are a little intimidating or you just have a quick question, shoot them an email. I, for instance, have been emailing back and forth with my history professor all weekend, and my final paper is definitely better for it.
Take a Break- Studying and being prepared are extremely important, but so is giving your brain a chance to rest. We can’t stay focused 24/7, so instead of checking Facebook every few minutes try scheduling specific and realistic blocks of time to study and blocks of time to relax. And then, if at all possible, do something active with your break time. Chances are you just spent the last two hours staring at a screen typing a paper, so instead of watching a movie go for a walk, get some exercise, or chat with a friend. Your brain will thank you for the break and you’ll come back reenergized and ready to hit the books.
Finals week probably seems intimidating right now, but try to keep focused and remember why you’re hear. Finishing a term of college is no small accomplishment; so keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel and after your last final make sure you give yourself a pat on the back before you fully immerse yourself in the freedom of break!