Home Stretch: Five Tips to Get You Through the End of the Semester
We’ve reached that point in the semester – there are only two weeks left of classes, and only three until another school year is over. Yet, if your semester is anything like mine, a wall of end-of-semester deadlines and looming finals makes the end of the semester feel like it’s a world away. Here are my top five ways to power through the stress.
5 – Keep careful track of your deadlines.
Knowing when things are due will not only prevent you from confusing or forgetting deadlines, it will eliminate the nagging fear and stress associated with forgetting these due dates. I recommend doing this with a calendar app that will remind you of deadlines as they happen. It’s always been hugely helpful for me to be able to see what needs to get done, and by when. This has the added benefitted of making you feel super organized, especially right after you have added in a ton of deadlines.
4 – Take it day by day, step by step.
Big tasks like papers and projects can seem impossible to complete. Therefore, once you’ve made a plan of how to meet each deadline, focus on what you need to get done each day in terms of a series of small steps. Writing a 2,000-word paper might feel overwhelming, but writing 400 words a day for 5 days seems more manageable. If you’re doing a group project, start by sending out an email or message to your group. Setting goals will also help keep you from worrying too much about completing the task on-time. All you need to worry about is accomplishing what you set out to do for that day, and the rest will take care of itself.
3 – Don’t lose sight of what you love.
The end of the semester can be so stressful to prepare for, that it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re spending time on the task. If an exam in a favorite class is stressing you out, it might help you to recall your favorite reading material. If you are doing a project and have some control over your topic, try to choose something you are genuinely interested in, rather than something you think will be easy. It will help you immensely if you can remind yourself that this thing you are putting lots of time and effort into is something that you are passionate about doing, despite the stress it may cause. It will also make it even more gratifying once you’ve finished — you’ll have produced something that you are truly proud of.
2 – Know your limits and what works for you.
There is always a limit to how much you can do. Staying up all night studying for an exam will almost certainly cause you to become so sleep-deprived that you get a lower grade. Locking yourself in your room and working for hours might seem like a great option for productivity, but this could also cause problems. Maybe you would feel better if you took a break to see friends, or if you took some time to rest your eyes. Keep track of what works for you – how much sleep you need, what kinds of breaks benefit you and how long you can study without losing focus. Knowing your limits and strengths will help you to be not only a healthier person but a more effective student.
1 – Know that you are capable of more than you think. You can do this!
I’ve done some crazy things to meet deadlines during my time at Skidmore, and I bet you have too. Once, I even wrote two twenty-page research papers in five days. Every semester, I am convinced that there is at least one thing that I cannot do, and that this one thing will be what finally causes my grades to drop and my semester to fall apart. But this is generally not what happens. The end of the semester is crazy and stressful, but things seem to work out more often than not. Skidmore is full of smart, creative students like you who are pushing through the semester. So, don’t get too discouraged – at the end of it all, you are more than capable of coming out on top, or at the very least, emerging onto level ground.