Thanksgiving break always seems to bring about this false sense of security. A week break, although a much-needed reprieve, makes the jump into finals that much harder as we try to adjust to the craziness that is sure to come. Political science students, in particular, are often faced with an overwhelming combination of assignments; anything from course papers to multiple-choice exams to group projects is fair game.
As a graduating senior, I am all too familiar with the panic that tends to arise at the prospect of such large assignments that could easily make or break your grade. What once seemed like far-away deadlines are suddenly only days away if you aren't careful, and with so many classes being online, losing track of those important due dates has become way too easy. Luckily, my four years of college have prepared me well and allowed me to nail down what I feel are the best finals survival tips that have yet to fail me.
1. Make a list of your due dates
Know what's due when. This may sound like a given, but you wouldn't believe how many deadlines I've almost missed by a day because I simply didn't check them beforehand. Double-check the most recent version of your course syllabi and make sure there isn't something you missed.
2. Designate what you’ll work on when
This is a relatively new practice of mine, but one that's really changed how I approach larger assignments. After figuring out what's due when I mark these dates on a calendar and space out which one's I'll work on each day. By breaking up large papers into smaller pieces, I've experienced far less stress and am able to keep my rather small attention span in check.
3. And on that note, don’t start that paper the night before it’s due
Don't. Just don't. I've been there, and trust me, you'll thank yourself for those extra workdays.
4. Use Quizlet
Luckily, none of my classes in recent semesters have had cumulative, multiple-choice exams, but back when I did, Quizlet was an absolute godsend. Double-check and see if there's already a set out there for your class, but if not, take the time to make one of your own. I promise it'll be worth it. Make flashcards, print out a study guide; whatever your learning style, there's sure to be a helpful option available for you.
5. Pull those all-nighters sparingly
I'm absolutely guilty of this too, but trust me, sleep is so very essential to producing the best work possible. Not to say that there won't be nights where staying up until the wee hours of the morning isn't a necessary evil. But choose those nights wisely and be sure to catch up on sleep in the days that follow. Repeated all-nighters never end well. I know this from experience. So, get some rest, and try not to overdo it too much.
6. Take care of yourself
Your mental health should never be put on hold. Make the time for some self-care. Go outside and take a walk, take a break, talk to family and friends, treat yourself to a holiday drink at Starbucks, watch an episode of your favorite series. Do something for yourself, even if just for an hour. Finals are stressful. Make sure they don't overwhelm you.