With the beginning of November, the fall 2020 semester is coming to a close, and we all know what that means: finals! That single word singlehandedly strikes terror into the hearts of every exhausted student across the nation as we all prepare for a week of high-pressure exams and studying. It's really easy to burn out when you're cramming in those last few weeks, so here are some great ideas to help you maintain your mental health during that final stretch!
1. Take a walk.
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Right about now, we're hitting fall and winter - my favorite time of year. The weather is cool and beautiful, and it can do so much good for you to just take a walk outside for a few minutes between study sessions! Your mental health is tied to how much time you spend in the same area and is improved when you get a little bit of location diversity in your life. It's totally worth it to take a break from studying once in a while and head outside for some fresh air. Additionally, if you take a walk, and relax from your studying a bit, you'll probably find that some exercise really helps break up the monotony of looking at notes and improves your mood and productivity! Take care of yourself, you're working hard and deserve it.
2. Form a study group.
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I know that we're still in the midst of a pandemic, but a socially-distanced or zoom study group can also help you out a lot when exam prepping. Not only is it a social interaction that can break up the normal loneliness of studying, but it can also help answer questions you may have or come up with interesting solutions/ways to think about the concepts you're studying. Awesome benefits all around! However, this advice can be a double-edged sword: if your study group doesn't actually do much studying, you probably won't be getting any academic benefits from it. If what you need is some social time, that's great, but you shouldn't lie to yourself and say you got more done than you really did.
3. Create a study schedule.
Don't be like Drake!
Finals can be really overwhelming, to say the least. After all, you're being tested over three months of intensive learning - there's so much you need to know! The best way I've found to mitigate that is by making a study schedule, or some other system to keep track of what you need to study and when you're going to do it. Following a plan can make your learning more efficient and you'll be panicking way less when you're really in crunch time for your exam. Just make sure to leave yourself some wiggle room in case you're really struggling with something!
4. Just do it.
My final (pun intended) tip is that you actually follow through on studying! All the scheduling, study groups, and breaks won't do much to improve your knowledge or confidence walking into your exam unless you actually hit the books. Trust me, I know from experience. However, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Your mental health is important, as are your grades, but you shouldn't have to give up one for the other. Walk into this final exam season confident in yourself and ready to kick some fall 2020 ass!