With Halloween in the past and the month of November underway, most colleges have hit that point in the semester that’s a real rough patch. Just as students begin winding down and making plans for Thanksgiving and winter break, professors decide to pile on the work and finishing the semester begins to look impossible.
With one foot already out the door, it can be hard to keep up with all of the deadlines presented to college students at the end of the semester. Here are some tips and advice for finishing out the semester strong before racing off to a much-deserved winter break.
1. Keep an Organized Planner
Getting organized, in general, is something that often seems to get pushed to the side by many college students, but if ever there were a time to get organized, it’s the month of November. The first step to getting your life in order is to write down any and all information. Keeping a detailed planner is beneficial for keeping track of all classwork, upcoming assignments and final exam dates.
One foolproof way to keep track of everything is to color-code by course or extracurricular and then put a key on the side of the month in your planner. Color-coding is also a way to relieve stress, which is something that almost every college student no doubt needs when finishing the semester.
2. Leave Reminders for Yourself
Going along with having an organized planner, it is important to have a separate wall calendar or desk calendar with all of your commitments for the remainder of the semester. In laying out the most important deadlines in two different places, you give yourself two opportunities to remember what you may have going on in your life.
Forgetting any commitment or assignment at this point in the semester is almost inevitable for many, which is why it’s important to leave little reminders all over the place. Whether it’s setting phone alarms, keeping a wall calendar or leaving post-it notes on your books and all over your room, find a system that works best for you to ensure that you never fall behind.
3. Set Daily Goals
For me, setting daily goals for myself is a big aspect of finishing off the semester as strongly as I started it. A lot of the courses that I’m in require me to do a lot of reading, so setting a certain number of pages for myself to read each day is helpful in making sure that it all gets done.
For those who are competitive, setting daily goals can sometimes lead to wanting to surpass those goals. Setting a benchmark to reach each day, and making sure to follow that goal, can help keep assignments in order, making sure that they don’t pile up or get forgotten.
4. Stay Healthy
Along with the mid-to end-of-semester slump comes the end-of-semester sickness. In my entire college career, I have seen the sickness hit every year just before finals week each semester without fail. Like any illness, there are ways of combatting this.
Being healthy begins with starting the day off right by eating a filling breakfast and following that with a healthy lunch and dinner. Setting aside time to cook a full meal on a busy schedule can be tough, but it is incredibly necessary for staying alert. It is also important to drink a lot of water, which is something that unfortunately gets neglected or forgotten sometimes. Keeping a water bottle on hand at all times and making sure to refill it throughout the day is helpful in making sure you’re staying hydrated and, in turn, making sure you stay healthy.
In the same vein, when your goal is finishing the semester strong, it’s imperative that you make sure to try and get a full night’s sleep. With deadlines looming and exams on their way, time devoted to schoolwork can begin to bleed into time that should be spent sleeping.
As appealing as it may sound to power through an all-nighter to finish whatever assignment you may be working on, it is more important to get in some sleep and wake up a little bit earlier to finish up. In getting a full night sleep, you’re giving yourself a chance to recharge and then wake up the next morning ready to make it through that day and whatever it holds.
6. Treat Yourself
Just as it is important to keep up with assignments and study for exams, it is also important to set some time aside for yourself to just relax. Set aside some time for a bubble bath or some yoga or anything else that makes you happy. It is just as important to give yourself a couple of hours a day to watch television and relax as it is to do work for your classes.
In some cases, it may be helpful to put your own little reward system in place, giving yourself some extra time to relax as a small prize for finishing the goals that you have set for yourself. This is a time to recharge your mind and body, preparing you for the work still left ahead.
7. Surround Yourself with Positivity
Toward the end of the semester, it’s easy to crack under the weight of the pressure of final projects and exams. For that reason, it’s important to keep a positive attitude throughout and to surround yourself with people who raise you up rather than bring you down.
Finding that group of friends that acts as a strong support system is vital to keeping up your own spirits, especially when your goal is finishing the semester with your sanity in tact. Not only will this group of friends help you remain level-headed and positive, but they could also act as a force to push you. Create a study group. Even if each of you has something different that has to get done, working in a group setting can push each of you to reach the goals that you set for yourself. Sometimes just being in the same place with another person, even if it’s just to study in silence, can help you actually get your work done.