Core decorum: finals

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Photo by Bridget Kennedy.

The closing of the semester brings about all sorts of emotions– unfortunately, with finals approaching, stress tends to be the most prominent. Regardless of whether you’re anticipating your first final in college or one of your last, you are likely to feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. While it is impossible to make finals week easy, here are some tips to help make it a little more bearable.

  1. Make a schedule for yourself: One of the best ways to combat stress is to sit down and write down everything you need to do. Make a list and organize it according to the importance of each task. Writing down and visualizing what you need to do will help you feel like you have more control over the upcoming tests and assignments.
  2. Get some sleep: Make sure you allot yourself enough time to sleep. During finals week, it can feel like sleeping is the least important thing on your to-do list. You might be tempted to pull all-nighters or convince yourself that three hours is fine.. However, getting enough sleep is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Sleep is necessary for your brain to re-energize itself, and it will help you retain more information.
  3. Talk to your classmates: The intimate class sizes at the University of Dallas are one of UD’s most attractive attributes. Being in a small class allows you to quickly become acquainted with your classmates. Take advantage of this and create group study guides or partake in group study sessions. One of the best ways to learn and understand something is through discussion. Pick certain topics that will be on the final and take turns teaching and explaining them to one another.
  4. Limit your screen time: Unfortunately, nearly everything we do is related in some way to our computers or phones, making the temptation to procrastinate via social media or video games even stronger. The average person spends somewhere between four to six hours a day on their phone, computer or tv. Take control over the impulse to procrastinate by deleting tempting apps and limiting the times you check your social media to once or twice a day. You will thank yourself when you have those extra hours to sleep or study.
  5. Remember to take breaks: During the chaos of finals, you might feel like you need to spend every second memorizing and reviewing your notes; however, it is necessary to allow yourself time to decompress. Ideally, it is suggested to study for somewhere between 50-90 minutes and then allow yourself a 20-30 minute break. Taking a break will boost your concentration and productivity.

While finals week can be extremely daunting and at times seem insurmountable, it is necessary to remind yourself how far you have come this semester. Think of all the past times you felt like you would not be able to complete an assignment or pass a test, yet you persevered and were able to successfully accomplish it. Imagine how great it will be at the end of finals when you can proudly look back at the hard work you accomplished. Finals are difficult but not impossible, and with the right mindset we can all conclude the semester successfully.

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