HUGHES: Declassified survival guide to finishing the semester

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HUGHES: Declassified survival guide to finishing the semester

Morgan Hughes

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Thanksgiving break is the beautiful time of the semester when all of the stresses associated with preparing for finals can be stifled with mashed potatoes, saturated fats and more carbohydrates than your body could ever need.

But now that the post-Thanksgiving food comas are behind us, we are forced to return to campus (five pounds heavier) and reassume our roles as students.

This may be the most stressful time for students, only a few weeks from the end of the semester. If you are anything like me (hopefully you’re not), you put off all of your studying until now, making it that much more stressful.

But don’t worry. Even if you lied to your grandma when she asked how your grades were, there’s still time to salvage the semester and maintain your GPA.

It’s so important to stay healthy and to finish strong. This is the worst time to lose focus. While I may not be an expert on most things, I am an expert at calming myself down when I need to prevent an epic meltdown.

So from one stressed out student to another, here is a list of ways you can help yourself remain calm over the course of the next couple weeks.

Eat well and stay hydrated. Much like how a 747 aircraft can’t run on peanut M&M’s and Red Bull, neither can you. Take a water bottle and some carrot sticks with you when you dive into your lecture notes. Don’t use finals week as an excuse to eat an entire package of Double Stuf Oreos in one sitting. Stress is extremely unhealthy for your body, but so is 2,800 empty calories.

Go to the gym.“Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”- Elle Woods. Happy people also don’t freak out and explode into a million pieces over an essay they started later than they should have. Take a break. Microsoft Office will still be there when you get back from a therapeutic sweat session at the Rec Plex. If Reese Witherspoon got into Harvard Law and still made time for some exercise, so can you.

Talk to your professors. This is not as intimidating as it is made out to be. Most professors are extremely understanding, and they want you to pass their class. Ask for extra credit or see if you can revise a paper for which you received a poor grade. Even if they can’t offer you any extra work to boost your grade, the act of going in and telling them why you fell behind or why you’re worried about the final could be helpful. Who knows, if you end the semester just half a percentage point away from an AB, they might bump up your grade just because you spoke with them. And on that note, talk to your TA as well. They might be able to help you more than your professor can if it’s a large class.

Re-read your syllabus before it’s too late. Double check to see what your professor’s policy is on extra credit. Make sure you have the correct due date for that research paper you put off until the end of the semester because you knew it wasn’t due until later (this saved me 250 points).

Give yourself a study break. After staring at your textbook for four straight hours it’s going to start to look like hieroglyphics. Give yourself a minute to breathe and refocus. A common study technique is the 50-10 rule. Study for 50 minutes, then give yourself a 10 minute break. Or study for 40 minutes and give yourself a 20 minute break. “Malcolm in the Middle” is on Netflix and the episodes are only 20 minutes each, so there’s that.

Worrying about something will never change its outcome. Put the energy that you would use stressing yourself out into doing something productive.

Take a deep breath, change your phone’s lock screen to a motivational quote, and finish the semester strong. You’ve got this.

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