Hi everyone! My name is Samantha Sorce and I am a junior here at UAlbany. I’m majoring in Criminal Justice with a double minor in Business Administration and Communication, and I’m a Peer Advisor in the Advisement Services Center. I am here to give you some helpful tips on how to get through those dreaded weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter break.
There is nothing harder than coming back to school barely out of your food coma from Thanksgiving. So, it seems borderline cruel that this is the time all of your projects and papers that you have been putting off for the entire semester are due; and that Finals Week is right around the corner! How are we supposed to kick it into full gear when all we can focus on is winter break, the holidays, and the “25 Days of Christmas” movie countdown? Here are a few tips I have learned the hard way.
1) Do. Not. Procrastinate. Chances are you’ve already procrastinated and that’s why the few weeks between breaks are the most stressful and sleep deprived weeks of your undergrad years. If you have a ten-page paper due at the same time as that group project you forgot about and the deadline is rapidly approaching, you can still do well. Create a schedule and goals for each day leading up to the deadline and make sure you reach those goals. Your grade will reflect the hard work you put in over the course of a week or two rather than an all-night cram session.
2) Give Up Netflix. Contrary to popular belief, binge watching a six-year show in one month does not help you succeed in school! Who knew?! Netflix is your worst enemy during this time. Have your family change the passwords and forget about “Greys Anatomy” or “The Office” or whatever show is consuming your study time. It will be there when finals are over, I promise.
3) Give Yourself a Break. When you have projects on tests on papers, it is okay necessary to give yourself some down time to relax! Take a nap, go to the gym, go out to eat; just give your mind a chance to relax and reset. Whatever you do, do not do something that will turn a 45-minute break into a three-hour extravaganza, like stalking people on Instagram or watching “Tasty” videos on Facebook.
4) Avoid Social Media. I recently learned that iPhones tell you how much you use each app in a 24-hour or 7 day time span. I suggest everyone take a look at this to really put into perspective how much time you’re really on your phone, and get that number way down during finals week. It’s okay to look on Snap Chat or Twitter for five or ten minutes between studying. But we all know that studying in between phone breaks sounds more realistic. Turn your phone off for a few hours while studying and you’ll be amazed by how much you get done! Since most college students are constantly posting about how many more finals until they can go home, it can be stressful to see that some schools are done with finals when you have not even started yet. You’ll avoid the FOMO (fear of missing out) of seeing all your home friends together while you’re still studying if you turn off that phone!
5) Find Your Space. For most people, the library is a perfect place to study. However, I am not one of those people. The silent zones are just too quiet and the collaborative zones are too loud and disruptive. For me, the perfect study place is Starbucks; it’s the perfect amount of white noise for me to focus. But what works for me may not work for you. Try out a different location everyday for a week and see which works best for you.
6) Take it One Day at a Time. Nothing is scarier than looking at your planner and realizing everything is due right around the same time. This can really stress you out and make you feel like you need to do everything at once just to stay on schedule. You cannot study for every test and write every paper at the same time no matter how hard you try; the sooner you realize delegation is key, the better. Do a little for each class every day and you will be fine.
Every student on campus is feeling the stress of finals week just like you are. Just take a deep breath and know that you will get through it. I hope these tips make your finals week a little bit easier, but if they don’t, here are some funny memes to help ease the pain.