Although it can be drab most students find themselves studying in the library to escape their every day distractions (Image via Lloyd Sealy Library)

The 4 Stages of the Dreaded College Finals Week

That time of the year everyone counts down for and dread at the same time is finally upon college students: finals week.

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That time of the year everyone counts down for and dread at the same time is finally upon college students: finals week.

Most college students spend the first week of a new semester getting used to new classes, are kind of excited to learn some new things and then immediately start wishing for the end of that semester to come. Everyone marks their calendars for that last day of classes and plan summer jobs or vacations and don’t really think about what else comes with that end of term time.

Then, when your teachers start bringing up final projects and exams everything sets in and you remember that you’ve got to get through finals week before you can even think about your summer break. Every student is different, but there’s a chance you’ve been through at least a few of these stages of finals week if you’ve ever had to take any final exams before.

When Your Teachers Bring Up that Project You Were Trying Not to Think About

Not only is finals week filled with actual exams, but most classes will also have you doing presentations, projects or papers. You’ve got four tests to study for, two essays to write and a group presentation to do all in the same week. Sure, you’ve probably known about the projects and papers since the beginning of the semester and you’ve probably even had the guidelines since at least half-way through the term, but does that mean you’ve actually looked through them or even started working on them? Probably not.

Most college students are known for starting papers at the very last possible moment. If the paper is due through email by midnight, a college student is most likely to spend that entire day working on it and turn it in anywhere between 11:30 – 11:59 p.m.  It’s not a good idea to start it that very day that it’s due, but everyone has been there before and it happens, especially if you’ve also got a bunch of other projects due right in the same week.

Trying to Put Together a Study Guide But Not Knowing All the Information

College students are notoriously known for being horrible note takers. This isn’t because they don’t know how to take notes or know what information to takes notes on, it’s just people typically don’t pay enough attention in class anymore. These days college students are almost always bringing their laptops to class with them in order to take notes but most of the time everyone is just on Facebook or checking their email. I’ve even seen people watching Netflix shows with the subtitles on.

There’s also the fact that college students miss a lot of classes. Attendance for a lot of classes isn’t always that high on people’s priorities. With the mix of missing classes, not getting some of the information you may need added with the poor note taking skills and you’re kind of screwed when it comes to making a decent study guide. Here’s a tip for next semester: when taking notes (which, you should), put the date at the top of your page so you can do your study guide in the right order.

Sleep? Who Is She?

When was the last time a college student actually got their eight hours of sleep let alone during finals week? American college students sleep less than most other groups in the world and during finals week students are up all night long working on essays and studying alike. Especially if you’re someone who leaves everything to the last minute, you’re probably drinking bucket loads of coffee and eating too much junk food while you deliriously try to type up an assignment on any number of topics. Just make sure you don’t confuse your biology essay with your creative writing story, that’s a mistake you probably don’t want to make.

If you are one of those people that works through the night in order to perfect your various finals projects, do go over and edit them in the morning after you’ve had at least a couple of hours rest.

So Many Distractions

Honestly, who can focus on finals when there are new shows and movies being added to Netflix all the time? Or even not so new shows but shows you’re somewhere in the middle of watching and you are just desperate to get back to. Lots of people take breaks in between assignments but don’t be that person who gets drawn into a show and three seasons later you remember you have two days to complete a seven-page paper.

Try making a studying schedule. I know it’s hard because there are always so many things going on in May and the weather is just finally starting to get better, depending on where you are of course. No one wants to spend all day on their computer in their room or in their school’s library typing away on a project that’s slowly draining their energy. Plan it out and give yourself some breaks.

Above all, just remember finals aren’t everything, so don’t lose your mind over them. Most finals count anywhere between 20 – 30 percent of your final grade, so work hard but don’t overwork yourself. Finals week also only lasts a week or two, so you’ll be out of it soon and you should reward yourself. I know it’s super hard as a college student because you can’t go throwing money around but just plan a night out with your friends after you’ve all completed your finals and celebrate that you don’t have to do it again until December (unless you do summer courses, then I am very sorry for you). To those of you that are graduating, congratulations: you’re done!

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