Stressing out at the end of the semester is something that college students are all too familiar with– at one point or another, it’s likely that we’ve all crunched the numbers on the minimum score we need on that final exam to get our desired grade. Or maybe you have a final project (or several) that’s snuck up on you, and you’re teetering on the edge of panic mode as you paste URLs into MLA citation generators. Whatever the case may be, the end of the spring semester can feel particularly rough after a full school year of studies. That doesn’t mean it has to be torture, of course! Here are seven quick tips for finishing the academic year out strong.
This might seem like a no-brainer, and it’s such common advice that it’s become something of a meme in recent years (albeit a thoroughly wholesome one.) It’s easier said than done, though, and when we’re elbow-deep in final papers and reviewing months worth of lecture notes, tunnel vision can leave some of the basics unattended to. The easiest way to ensure you’re getting all the water you need is to carry a water bottle with you; you’ll want something big enough to last a while between refills, but light enough to keep around throughout the day. Stainless steel is a good choice if you prefer your water ice cold for hours, but so long as it’s reusable, any bottle is the way to go.
Eat a good breakfast.
What exactly a “good” breakfast consists of may vary depending on your individual nutritional needs, but making sure you’re covered in the protein and fiber department will help you feel your best even if late-night study sessions wreak some havoc in the final weeks of school. Don’t forget that carbs are energy, too– ultimately, “well-balanced” is a good general rule of thumb when it comes to getting those morning macros.
Change up the scenery.
Changing where you study has a variety of benefits; for one, setting variety keeps things a little more interesting, which can help when you’re feeling burnt out or low on motivation. However, there’s also some evidence that suggests frequently switching up where you study helps you better remember the material. If nothing else, it’s an easy way to stay more engaged within what may feel like an otherwise repetitive routine.
At this point, there are countless apps dedicated to helping you crack down on your screen time, and many phones have their own screen time and app limit settings you can use to make peeling your eyes away from the doomscroll slightly easier. If you want to be more strict about digital distractions, of course, some apps will lock you out of specific apps entirely with no “fifteen more minutes” option in sight. Putting your phone or other devices in a lockbox is always an option, too.
While there are techniques like the Pomodoro Method where you work for an allotted amount of time, follow it up with a scheduled break, and repeat, breaks don’t necessarily have to be premeditated. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or like you’re hitting a wall, it may be a good time to give yourself some distance from the material via a short walk outside, making yourself a cup of tea, or even taking a power nap (just don’t nap so long you wake up even groggier, that is.)
…That you reasonably can, at least. Annotation is an easy way to engage with a text on a deeper level, and by highlighting specific items of interest you make recall and citation a lot easier for both present and future you. Tablets and PDF annotation programs on your computer are great for this, although sometimes nothing beats physically printing the material out and bringing in the highlighters.
Prioritize and break up tasks.
When you’ve got a lot on your plate, it’s easy to have everything jumble together into a big, abstract ball of stress, responsibility, or even guilt. Besides going easy on yourself during the end-of-semester crunch, there are lots of strategies you can use to make task management more concrete and doable: list out all that you need to do, considering how quickly each task can be completed, when they must be completed, and their importance. Taking larger tasks and breaking them up into smaller chunks can also make getting things done feel more straightforward.