End-of-semester survival guide

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Katelyn Coyle

Congratulations, midterms are finally over and, even if you don't feel like you did, you survived. Now comes the calm before the second, somewhat more stressful, storm---class registrations, finals, second semester and ultimately, more midterms and finals.
I can't say if your first semester has been good and if you've excelled or if it has been a serious struggle for you to overcome. However, I can say that you did it, you made it through, and you know what to do to conquer the rest of this semester and second semester as well.
It may seem like you're a pro now and you know what to do in the face of homework, exams, midterms and finals. You might think that you don't need to change anything about your rituals. However, a little bit of advice can't hurt, especially if it may give you a new perspective.
Here are some of the things that my friends and I do when we're faced with the stresses of every day classes:
Get your work done ahead of time. You have a syllabus...utilize it. If I know what my professors expect of me for reading for the next week or two and my schedule allows it, I’ll do it ahead of time. The same goes for homework assignments and even some essays. Getting your work done before hand allows you more time to edit, revise and ultimately get a better grade. Plus, your professors will appreciate that you actually read their multi-page syllabi.
Don't let your work consume you, make time for fun. I know I just said that I like to get ahead of my work and that it helps in the long run, but you can't always be locked away in your dorm typing another essay or reading ten chapters of a book for one class. Sometimes you need a mental health break, and for me that comes in the form of having fun with my friends. My direct roommate always makes it a point to make time to laugh, whether it be from tagging me in ridiculously funny Facebook videos, or trying to scare our other roommate when it's dark and she's not expecting it—I can tell you first hand just how funny that can be. Laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes you need to step away from your work and allow yourself to have fun.
Make time to relax. Whenever I'm feeling particularly stressed out I try to take time to relax in my apartment. For me, relaxation comes in many forms. Sometimes it's by having a movie night with friends, other times it's by watching The Office alone in my bed. No matter how big my problem is, Michael Scott can always find a way to make me laugh. Mental health breaks are a necessity. Once you're relaxed you'll be able to better focus on your work.
Go to office hours. Professors love it when you go their office hours. They start to learn about you and how you learn and can tailor lessons to what they gather from their office hours with their students. Occasionally, they'll even give you extra points. Going to office hours doesn't automatically mean you're learning impaired. In fact, it does the opposite. Going to office hours shows you care because you'll be ahead of the class in what you know, and chances are you'll do a lot better on the exam or essay you were stressing about prior to going.
As far as advice, the things I mentioned are definitely what help me get through a semester. I hope that if you take some of the things I said, they'll help you too. The last thing I can say is: relax, take a deep breath and remember that you survived first semester, so you'll survive second semester too.

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