Ready, set…study!

December 6th, 2012

Students of John Carroll, the time is upon you. No amount of denial or procrastination will change the fact that finals are next week. The reward: a month filled with steamy mugs of hot chocolate and endless Christmas movie marathons. That is, if you are left standing on Dec. 14. Do not fret … finals are rough, but there are some straightforward steps you can take in these final days to assure that you not only survive, but thrive this exam week.

1 – Prioritize: Nothing irritates students more than the overused finals advice to ‘not cram.’ John Carroll students are all educated individuals who understand that studying massive amounts of material the night before a test is not the most effective way to learn. But it is also completely unrealistic to schedule, on average, five to six exams in the same week and not expect some semblance of cramming to take place. Some advice: accept there is only so much you can do in a day. Be realistic about what you can accomplish versus what you want to accomplish, and prioritize the subjects that will give you the most difficultUing time management will help studying be more manageable and, most importantly, less stressful.

 2 – Make a schedule: There are two types of people when it comes to organization – those that schedule their days and those that do not. Many live a chaotic life – finals are the time when you must let go of the disorder.  Even if you have never made a schedule for a day in your life, make a study schedule for the week, and stick to it as best you can.  There is nothing worse than getting into one subject and realizing, when the library is closing hours later, that there were five other things you had to do.  Also, it can be very helpful to change what you are studying every few hours to break up the monotony and give your noggin a much-needed break.

 3 – Study Responsibly: The amount and way you study this next week is very important, but there is another factor that is even more vital to a successful end of the semester. As crazy as this sounds, remember it is just another week. The more you build up the disasters that could happen in your mind, the worse you will psych yourself out. No amount of preparation can help with a breakdown. It may be hard to normalize the week when there are dogs in the library and people are going around the dorms throwing hot dogs, but stick to your regular activities as best you can.  If you eat lunch at 1 p.m. everyday, then at 1 get your nose out of a book for an hour, grab your roomie and head down to the caf.  If you like to work out, make sure to leave enough time to go to the gym – it is a great way to clear your mind and relieve stress.

 As you head off to hit the books, keep in mind that everyone studies differently. What works for one might not necessarily work for someone else, so you must ultimately do what you know works best for you.The best thing we can all do for ourselves this finals week, besides not procrastinating, is taking care of ourselves so that we can go into our exams relatively sane – emphasis on relatively.