By Amanda Szramiak – This time of the semester is always hectic. I find myself trying to balance school and work life while simultaneously trying to live a healthy lifestyle by eating, working out, and most importantly, sleeping. For me, no matter how much I prepare or how much I anticipate the angst of finals week, I always seems to be crashing into the last few weeks of the semester. I thought I would share my tips of being an organized mess as I try to figure out my own plan of attack.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. The writing center during finals is extremely chaotic, and we are given the option to work or not work during the week. I had emailed my assistant director my hours for finals week saying I would be willing to work up to fifteen hours next week. Ambitious? No. Definitely a dumb idea. I was thanked for my optimistic schedule but was only given eight hours to work. I appreciate having bosses that recognize my efforts but take into account the realities of the final days of the semester.
- This time of the semester I usually organize my schedule in order of due date. Unfortunately, this is the only logical way to plan out my library hours because I procrastinate. Today’s to-do list consists of my assignment due tomorrow rather than focusing on lengthier papers due later in the week. Looking at my assignment notebook day-by-day is really all I can handle at this point.
- Wake up early. I admit I rolled my eyes when I received an email saying a student set up a writing appointment with me for 8:00a.m. But, I changed my mindset when I realized I would be up early, close to the gym after the meeting, and have plenty of time to get a work out in before going to class. For me, I find it rewarding to take a trip to the gym if I finish an assignment and have an hour for a break. I also feel productive knowing I have already worked and worked out before class begins.
- Take Breaks. I firmly believe doing anything (other than sleeping) for more than an hour straight is not healthy or productive. Studying for hours on hours without taking a break is psychologically unhealthy, so make sure to utilize breaks. Whether it be a quick walk for more coffee or a chat with a friend on the bridge, make sure to take breaks.
- A good night’s sleep is absolutely essential to doing well on an exam or simply making it through the day. Make sure to unwind and sleep, even if it means not crossing something off your to-do list for the day.
I hope these tips help you get through the last couple of weeks of the semester.