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Stomping the Yard

Surviving Finals Week

Even though it’s nearing the end of the semester, this is actually my LEAST favorite time of year. Why? Because this is when students decide they want to play, “Let’s Make a Deal!” It never ceases to amaze me that students who I have not seen in WEEKS decide to reappear at the end of the semester hoping for miracles.

It doesn’t work.

During the countdown to finals week, the LAST thing any professor wants to contend with is a pile of excuses and coulda-woulda-shoulda’s regarding student performance. That’s why this week I’m choosing to be proactive and share some solid advice from both college students and college professors on how to finish strong and survive finals week:

Take advantage of on-campus resources such as Writing Centers and Tutoring labs 2-3 weeks prior to final exams

Although these services are available year round, many colleges decide to flood these centers at the end of the semester making it nearly impossible to get an appointment or any specialized help. The smart thing to do is to take advantage of these services SOONER so that there’s less competition for tutors and support service staff. Many of these centers have old copies of department exams. Request one and use it to study for finals.

Exercise

Because of its endorphin-producing power, taking mini exercise breaks can help relieve stress, and stabilize sugar levels since college students are known to go on junk-food binges during finals. A short jog or quick game of basketball can be enough to take the edge off. My students have also sung the praises of yoga and meditation to help clear the mind and reduce anxiety. Exercise helps with focus, provides an extra boost of energy, and releases endorphins to boost your mood.

Eat Healthy
Speaking of junk-food binges, finals week is the worst time to start shoveling Twinkies down your throat. High carb, high sugar snacks will give you an instant boost, but when the effects wear off, your body crashes. Overconsumption of sugar also contributes to a lack of concentration.

Making healthier choices will energize you and provide the vitamins and nutrients needed to sustain focus, prevent sickness and boost your brain power.

Skip the Energy Drinks
During finals week, students tend to consume massive amounts of caffeine. Be it energy drinks or espresso, students will drink to keep themselves wired and awake. The problem is that caffeine is a diuretic, which means it takes water OUT of your body. Your brain needs hydration in order to function properly. Spike your water with fruit, mint, or cucumber to give it an extra kick.

Go to Bed
One thing your brain hates is a cram session. Not only is this a waste of time, it’s a waste of energy. The brain learns best in small doses delivered over a period of time. Trying to stuff a semester’s worth of material into an all night cram session will cause fatigue and increases the chances of short-term memory loss because the information has not had time to be processed. The best thing to do is to start studying 2 weeks earlier, and get as much sleep as possible so that your brain has time to absorb the information.

Create a Study Cave
Trying to study in your room is a setup for failure. Video games, TV, bed are all distractions that can easily disrupt a study session. Instead, find a quiet, orderly place like the campus library, coffee shop, or bookstore. An environment free of distractions help increase levels of concentration.

Finals week can be Make or Break for college students. If you want to make sure you finish strong, don’t self-sabotage by procrastinating, cramming, or binging on food and caffeine. Make a study plan and stick to it.

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Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Dr. Shante shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow her on FacebookYouTube, Instagram, and Twitter