Let’s talk about finals! They may not be the most popular things on your calendar, but they are important. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I have had six semesters of trial and error here at Missouri State and I think I have found the top five things needed to thrive during finals time.
Make a priority list
Who doesn’t love a good list? I enjoy making to-do lists because I don’t think there is anything sweeter than the joy of crossing off a task.
Even if you are not accustomed to making lists, I highly encourage you to make a priority list for these last couple weeks.
A priority list is different than an ordinary to-do list because instead of just writing a jumble of all you have to do, this list would have things in order of when you need to complete them.
Look at due dates of assignments and dates of exams to determine which task you need to do first. Just keep in mind this simple phrase: the sooner the DUE date, the sooner the DO date.
Schedule your healthy habits
It is true that academics should come first when you’re in college. After all, that is ultimately why we are here.
Unfortunately, college students tend to take that to an extreme around finals time and sometimes don’t keep up with their normal hygiene and health.
I honestly don’t think this is out of conscious choice, but rather these needs get pushed aside when academic focus is so strong.
To ensure that you shower, sleep and remember to eat, I suggest you actually schedule out times.
Setting specific times for these things are just like setting academic goals. Making a plan will provide you with the best opportunity to stay healthy and hygienic while still allowing enough time to prepare for finals.
Keep your rhythm
Finals sometimes turn inside out the habits we have had the entire semester. The key to staying in your same successful rhythm that you’ve had all semester to perfect is to keep what you’ve been doing as consistent as possible.
Y’all have probably heard the term ‘dress for success,’ but I don’t personally think that always means dress up. I believe it means dressing true to yourself with success and comfort in mind.
Keep your before-class routines intact to ensure you have the same mindset for the final. This means if you usually go to class in jeans and a sweatshirt or in a button up and khakis, you should do the same for the final.
You shouldn’t dress up more than you’re used to because then you won’t feel as comfortable. Dressing more comfortably than usual does have the tendency to make you sleepy, so a happy medium from your typical class outfits is perfect.
It is no doubt that the time of finals is stressful and a bit overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself during it. Study breaks are needed to clear your mind and take a breath from all the hard work you’re doing.
I’ve found that the best things for study breaks occur off campus. Dec. 1 is the first Friday of the month, which means that First Friday Art Walk will be happening downtown.
If you can’t make it out on Friday and are still itching to experience art, the art and design bachelor of fine arts senior shows will be up until Dec. 9 at Brick City, building 4 and at the Student Exhibition Center on Walnut Street.
Maybe art isn’t your thing, but there are so many other ways you can take a breather from campus and studying. If you like arcade games and pinball, check out 1984 downtown.
Grab a meal and movie at the Alamo Drafthouse that just arrived in Springfield last summer. Go to one of Springfield’s many coffee shops but instead of bringing homework, take a just-for-fun book to immerse yourself in.
There are a plethora of options for you to treat yourself. Just make sure you aren’t taking more breaks than actually studying.
Utilize the knowledge trifecta: Club Meyer, classmates, professors
There are an unbelievable amount of resources here at Missouri State to help you be successful. There’s an underlying group of three resources I like to call …
The Knowledge Trifecta
Those are Meyer Library, your classmates and your professors.
- Simply go to the library. Explore the academic resources such as personal and group tutors at the Bear CLAW. Find that perfect spot to keep you focused and motivated on your studies.
- Better yet, have some of your classmates meet at the library to form a study group. Classmates are sometimes the most valuable resource when it comes to reviewing notes, preparing for a test or writing a paper. Everyone takes notes differently and I often find that when notes are combined together, things you may have missed are clearly stated in other’s notes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your professor — yes, the person in charge of your assignments and assessments — any questions you have. They are a tremendous resource. Each professor is required to hold office hours each semester specifically for them to meet with students.
Follow these five tips and I guarantee an increase in motivation and success at a time when spirits usually go down. The most important thing is to do what is best for you. Like I stated previously, you have had this entire semester (or more) to create a pattern of habits to contribute to your success, so have faith in yourself.
Good luck, Bears!