Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Finals Time 2016

It's December which is officially grind time for College Students. While it's really exciting to be getting ready to wrap up the semester and spend the holiday's at home, this is also one of the most stressful times of the year. Between papers, final exams, that extra credit and trying to get your professor to raise your 60 to a 90.. a lot of people can lose their way.
I ran a poll on my twitter (@demaiatashawne - follow me if you don't already), to see what students similar to myself wanted to see in terms of help with their finals in this post. I gave three options; how to get through finals, relaxation techniques or studying tactics and habits. The poll ran for 24 hours and the final choices were split. Since all three of these topics are important for students, I've decided to include them all in this post. It's kind of a necessity.

Studying Tactics & Habits
Despite what people think, it isn't easy to tell people HOW they should study. Different things work for different people. For example, I do a lot better with lists. Seeing things get crossed off the list makes me feel good and makes me go harder to finish more stuff.

  •       If you're a person who strives off seeing things being finished, MAKE A LIST. Don't try to remember everything you have to do because you WILL forget something. Forgetting something increases anxiety and you'll do much worst. 
  •       Create a system that works for YOU. Color code your notes based off what you're learning. You'll be a lot more likely to pay attention and retain the information if what you've written or typed is highlighted or in different colors (other than blue, black or red.)
  • DON'T study somewhere you're comfortable. College students are well known for studying in their bed. While it's cool because you're comfy, it's not ... because you're comfy. When you're laying in bed studying, you're more likely to just lay down. There's been plenty of times when I've been in the bed studying at 4 and then I blinked and it was 9:30. All because I took a nap while I was supposed to be studying. 
  • Pick some place that stimulates your learning. For some people, sitting in the library at a desk or table is the only way they can be productive and get things done. For others, Starbucks is the best place because there are other sounds. Wherever you feel the best, that's where you go. 
  • Don't just read your notes over and over again. Find other ways to get and retain the information. Check out YouTube videos on the topic you're studying. Or ever go to Khan Academy and get step by step information. 
  • Study in chunks & Create a Schedule. It's college students favorite thing to wait until the last
    minute and cram everything the night before the exam. Don't do that.. please, don't do that. Try to set up intervals for yourself. You have to make incentives for yourself to follow. If you study for an hour, reward yourself with a 15 minute break. Create a set start time and end time. Disciplining yourself is a MAJOR key. If you say you're going to start studying at 6 and end at 9, hold yourself to it. Don't say you're going to start at 6 and start around 8 and still end at 9. Push yourself. If you're late, study later. ALSO, make a rule for yourself. I often tell myself that past 11, I'm not doing anymore work. That way I can still get in the bed and relax. 
  • Determine if groups are better or not. Some people strive the best when they're in a study group. Some people don't. I'm one of those people that can do homework with other people, but it can only be like one other person. If I'm in a group, I'm more likely to start talking about other things and get distracted and get nothing done. It makes me more lazy. 
  • As far as distractions go, minimize them. Music is cool, music is great ... but it can distract you too. If your favorite song comes on Pandora while you're studying, you're more likely to turn it into a mini concert than staying focused on what you're doing. Try low volumes.. and definitely put your phone on "Do Not Disturb" or turn it off. You'd be surprised what you're likely to accomplish if you're not tweeting or snapping. 
  • Reward yourself. If you've been sticking to your schedule, or you're understanding a topic you didn't at first.. treat yo' self. Promise yourself a burger if you get something done by 8. Do like me and order something you probably don't need. The bottom line is, YOU HAVE TO ROOT FOR YOURSELF.

Relaxation Techniques
Relaxing can be the hardest part of finals. Stress and anxiety are at an all time high. The problem with this is that professors don't understand the more they stress us out, the worse we'll do. This applies to papers, exams, group projects, etc. No matter what is going on, you have to find ways to relax:
  • End every night listening to your favorite Pandora station.. (or Tidal if that's your thing.)
  • Get rest! Stop overworking yourself. I understand you want to do well, but you need to sleep and unwind just as well. 
  • Netflix and Chill. When it seems like stuff is too much, just take a step back. Watch a new movie on Netflix. Eat snacks and take a break.
  • Watch a Youtube video on something interesting that has nothing to do with school or what you're studying. If you're into cars, look up videos or pictures of the cars. If you like hair, youtube a tutorial on a new style you've been wanting to try.
  • Hit the Gym. It's so easy to eat horrible during this time and just want to pass out. When you need a break, the gym can be the perfect place to go. Go walk around the track, get on the treadmill, life weights, ride the bikes, etc. (It's also included in your tuition... so might as well.)
Getting through Finals
This can be an extremely stressful time. Use positive self-talk to get yourself through it. I understand that a lot can be riding on finals in terms of taking classes over again, failing, etc. Remember ONE thing: Your GPA does NOT define you and you success is not compared to others. Don't compare yourself to others in terms of how you're doing, how fast you're getting it done, etc. Focus on your own path. Nobody said anything will be easy, but if you push yourself and do what you've gotta do.. you'll be just fine. Also, go see your teachers! It's late in the semester, but I'm sure they won't mind talking to you and giving you encouraging words. They might even be willing to help you in one way or another. Ask for extra credit. If opportunities are given FOR extra credit, DO IT!

If there are any methods you do that you feel might be helpful, feel free to comment them below!

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