How to survive the rest of the semester

by Elisse Miller

With the upsetting end of spring break, it’s time to hit the books for an agonizing five weeks of classes before finals and, most importantly, summer vacation. The one-week sample of sun, friends and carelessness has made the wait for summer even more difficult, but the biggest projects and exams are still to come. Here are some tips to help you through some of the most difficult weeks of the semester before you can embrace the summer break sunbeams.

#1 Lots of lists

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At this time of the year, the key to academic success is organization. With so many exams and essay due dates, it’s easy to lose track of deadlines. Scheduling all things academic, social and extracurricular into one calendar can be streamlined, but also intimidating and discouraging. Keep a separate academic planner full of deadlines and homework. Write in major social or extracurricular events such as friends’ birthdays, fundraisers, etc. in order to better dole out your study time. Schedule all parties, dinner dates and coffee breaks into your phone’s calendar; your phone is probably the hub of social life anyway. On top of tight schedules, keep a couple of to-do lists. Create one for academic or professional tasks such as applying to internships, and create another for personal needs such as doing laundry or sending your grandmother a birthday card. These lists are only as helpful as you make them— keep them handy and refer to them constantly.

#2 Be prepared

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Don’t be the student who shows up to an exam and forgets a ParScore form. Stress, studying and slammed schedules can lead to short-term memory loss and general unpreparedness. Buy extra ParScore forms now and load your backpack with lots of pens and pencils. Be sure to utilize your phone’s alarm system. Create an alarm for mundane tasks that are easy to forget, such as stopping by for office hours or turning in paperwork. Always spend extra time in the morning to pack multiple snacks for your day. You may think your trip to the library will only last a couple of hours, but when it’s hour five of cramming, your rumbling stomach will force you to give up your seat, cutting short on study time.

#3 Prioritize

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Despite what some professors may tell you, your grade point average isn’t everything. Some nights, you need sleep more than you need an A. Other nights, you may need to put in extra time at the gym instead of meeting with your friend for a study date. When juggling multiple commitments, it’s important to make judgment calls based on what’s healthiest for you physically, mentally and emotionally. College isn’t just about maintaining good grades. It’s also about maintaining relationships, being healthy, getting involved and, above all else, being happy. If a long phone call with your mother will make you feel better than working on that essay, go for it.

#4 Treat yo’ self

It’s important to boost your own morale when immersing yourself in stressful situations. The better you feel, the easier it’ll be to study effectively. For most students, both time and money is tight, so consider little treats. Buy yourself a venti frappuccino. Study at the beach. Sleep in on the weekend. Allow yourself to catch up on your favorite TV show. Buy a chocolate bar next time you’re waiting in line at the market. Ignore your phone for an hour. Go to a Zumba class. These small rewards for your hard work will encourage you to keep going.

#5 Look at the finish line

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Whether you’re graduating or simply surviving another semester, it’s important to remind yourself what lies at the other side of these final weeks of school—pure, unadulterated vacation.  Start thinking about your summer now, and it’ll encourage you to finish strong. Plan a road trip with your friends the day after your last final. Update your Netflix queue with TV series you want to binge watch. Buy a new cookbook and plan on trying a new recipe every day. Whatever you wish to do during your summer, remind yourself of the fun times ahead, and it’ll pump you up to study harder and work quicker.