Ready, Set, Finals: 5 Tips to Help You Ace this Semester

Ready, Set, Finals: 5 Tips to Help You Ace this Semester

Beat the procrastination blues by using these tips and tricks as we near those dreaded finals.
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It's that time again - we are coming to the close of another semester and that means that stress levels are high, and we feel the urge to check out early and procrastinate now more than ever. I myself am the worst procrastinator, but because of my lifelong struggle with putting off my work, I have learned many valuable lessons that have helped me curve some of my bad habits. Here are my top 5 tips to help you with procrastination, and to help keep you focused, organized, and motivated! Good luck to everyone on your assignments to follow!

1.) Stay Organized

It is never too late or too early to get your coursework organized. I am personally the person that comes to class on the first day completely organized and ready to take extensive notes and jot down everything important, and I too, am the person who comes to school later in the semester with a messy backpack and wrinkled papers. So as we near the close of the semester and we are getting bombarded with essays, assignments, labs, and the like, it is crucial to keep track of all of your papers and due dates to make sure you don't lose anything or miss an important date! I suggest downloading or creating a calendar (there are plenty of templates out there) and slipping it on the inside of your binder. I've noticed that I can get overwhelmed with an agenda and almost always never use it - this way, your crucial dates are somewhere you will always see them, and you can keep track of them much easier. To make it even harder to ignore, use bright colors!

Try to clean out your binders and folders as often as possible and keep one folder full of your graded paperwork. Some professors lose grades and you don't want to have ended up with a lost paper that you spent hours on because you tossed it in the trash. Keep these somewhere handy so you have the proof readily available if you need it.

Make sure to have a folder stacked with extra paper, scantrons, and other test materials in case you get too busy to head to the store and grab one before an exam! You will thank yourself later for having been well prepared.

Color code your notes and lectures so you can look back on them when studying. This will help you create a full study guide before exams!

2.) Stay Hydrated & Fed

I know how hard it is to stay healthy during finals, but your health affects your concentration, and that can make or break you on an exam. If you don't take care of yourself, you are also more likely to get sick, and you don't want to be stuck in bed the night before a paper is due! Make sure to always have a water bottle on you to keep you hydrated, and pack snacks either the day before class or pack small snack baggies on Sunday for the entire week. There are plenty of healthy options like granola bars, almond butter and crackers, fruits, and more depending on your preferences!

I hate eating breakfast (which is a terrible habit) but no one likes to be hungry when you are trying to pass your finals, so try and catch a quick light breakfast before you leave the house.

I am prone to headaches, which can be killer while studying, so make sure to not just stay hydrated when you are out and about, but when you are in bed studying too! Calming drinks like peppermint or chamomile teas can also help you de-stress and take care of yourself if you are having a hard time.

3.) Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep. Is. Crucial. I know how hard it can be to get enough rest if you have three essays to write, a lab, and a final to study for, but being exhausted won't do you any good either. There are multiple apps (for Android users) and a built-in bedtime alert (for iPhone users) to help you keep track of when you should go to bed and when you should wake up in order to get the right amount of rest for your body. This can be helpful in encouraging you to start your before bed routine earlier, so you are more prone to be ready to hit the hay when your alert tells you to.

Try and break up working on your assignments throughout the day instead of all at once when you get home. If you work or have classes all day, work on your assignments during your breaks, or study/read the materials during this time - always keep a notebook and pen on you so you can jot down any ideas you get while you are busy with other things. That way when you get home you have fewer things to do and you aren't left with all the work at 2 AM.

4.) Create a Schedule

If you are the type to lay about all day and then start your work at 6 PM (like me) try and create a checklist/schedule for yourself. Go through all that you need to do and decide how much time you will need for each item. This will keep you on track and encourage you to not get behind or daydream while working, causing you to stay more focused and get done faster. Once you have checked off a few items, you can take a break and lay down, eat, watch tv, or check social media before getting back to it. You will feel a lot more efficient and you will do better work when you don't feel so rushed.

5.) Ask for Help

It is okay to ask for help if you are too swamped! Most colleges offer free online and on-campus tutoring services that will help you revise your essays to make sure that your writing is clear and well organized in case you don't have the time to look it over -*hint* you can have your tutor window open while you work on another assignment.

Find a study buddy in one of your classes and see if they would like to help you out with anything you aren't understanding. More than likely, you have a solid grasp on something they need help on, and it will work out to be a great trade! It also gives you the excuse to head out for a bite to eat with your study buddy or go to your fave coffee shop to study.

Most professors are very understanding when it comes to finals - they have a ton of work to grade and so they know you have a lot on your plate too. If you are unsure about anything, take some time to ask them. Even asking what to focus on studying for exams (if they didn't mention it in lecture) or to go over a essay before you hand it in (give them enough time for this; not all teachers do it, but if you give them plenty of time to read your work, most won't mind helping you with revisions to make sure you have a good handle on the prompt) Bonus: make sure your professors know you are grateful for their help. Don't go to them the day before the final asking for extra credit or what to study for, and don't demand anything from them. Some are just too busy and you being rude or unhelpful to yourself won't want to make them help you now when they have most likely been trying to help you throughout the entire semester. Make sure they know that you would appreciate, but don't expect their help, and they will most likely offer you some kind of assistance. They have been where you are!

And there you have it. Let me know if any of these tips helped you, and if you have any healthy snack recipes, study tips, or the like to add on to it!

Cover Image Credit: ElkStudies

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12 Realities Of A Nursing Student

​​​Why being a nursing student is the best and worst decision you will ever make.
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I am a nursing student. This is synonymous with lifeless, stressed, exhausted, compassionate, smart and a plethora of other words. If you are or were ever a nursing student (in which we can't blame you for switching majors, the struggle is real), you will completely understand these 12 reasons why being a nursing student is insanely painful and extremely rewarding at the same time. If you're debating becoming a nurse, then this might serve as a helpful list of pros and cons.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing Is Different Than Any Other Major





1. Free time is nonexistent.

There is always a test, quiz, care plan or clinical that is demanding all of your attention, all the time. Say goodbye to friends, say goodbye to fun and say goodbye to your sanity.

2. Your schedule is insane.

You need to pencil in time in between studying for multiple exams, going to class and clinical hours in order to sleep or eat. When a non-nursing major complains about their 8 a.m. class, you just roll your eyes because you've been up since 5 a.m. and probably won't go to sleep until at least 2 in the morning.

3. You feel extremely stupid.

You perpetually feel unprepared for tests and you're disappointed that your grades won't be perfect any longer. You feel straight-up confused all the time. That 4.0 you had in high school? Yeah, that's not possible in nursing school, boo.



4. You also feel insanely intelligent.

When you spew out healthcare jargon and your non-nursing friends have no idea what you're talking about, you feel pretty damn cool. Plus, you now understand what the heck is going on in "Grey's Anatomy," so you're basically Derek Shepherd IRL.



5. Your teachers are disorganized and make classes practically impossible to pass.

Most of them grade harshly and make your life a living hell. And they usually don't have any sort of education degree or experience. Solid.



6. The two or three teachers you actually like already are, or will be, your friends.

The ones that help you get through the torture that is nursing school are keepers. They'll probably write you letters of recommendation or go out for drinks with you once you're no longer their student.



7. You have to pay to work.

You pay tuition for clinical hours, which essentially means you pay to work. Sure, the experience is invaluable, but that's a lot of time and effort to do for free.



8. Your nursing friends will be your friends for life.

There is a special bond between nursing students friends. You've studied together, you've laughed together, you've cried together, you've drank together. No one can understand the pain and glory that is nursing school like your fellow nursing students. And you know you couldn't have done it without them. No nurse left behind.

9. You see some really cool cases.

Some of the patient cases you see at clinical are nothing short of amazing. Knowing that you helped with an interesting and complex case leaves you with an invaluable experience and greater confidence in your knowledge and skills.

10. You will also see some really gross cases.

There are some images you just can't un-see (or un-smell) no matter how hard you try. I won't go into details, but nurses see some really icky stuff on a daily basis.

11. You will learn useless information.

Just like every other major, you have to take stupid classes that won't ever help you in life. I know for a fact I will never use the knowledge I gained from Healthcare Economics or Computer Skills for Health Sciences ever in life as an RN.

12. When you do have "free time," you kill it.

No one can party like a nursing student. No one. You drink so you can save lives.

No matter how hellish nursing school can be, you'd never change it. You know that being a nurse is what you're meant to do. No other job can handle your crazy, your feels, or your brains. You've been trained for this. Keep trucking through this bitch of an undergrad degree, we are all in this together. Now go out there, it's a beautiful day to save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Katy Hastings

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Hey Rider, Where The Heck Are Our Elevators?!?

It's not very disability-friendly if you can't have your friends access rooms in any floor above the first.

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So if there is ever a complaint I have about resident life on campus, it's that for the most part, the majority of the dorms at Rider University's Lawrenceville campus do not have elevators, which can be pretty problematic for anyone who becomes physically incapacitated. For example, I live on the third floor of Hill Hall, which isn't bad because I happen to like my room, but if I want to do my laundry, I have to go down several flights of stairs and floors to get to the basement which may or may not have occupied machines. It's a little inconvenient, right? Now, imagine I just got injured playing a sport, doing some other physical activity, or I just feel sick. Now it's even more of an inconvenience.

My friend was coming up to my room a couple days ago and she complained that if she ever hurt her leg, these stairs would be the death of her, and I agree! It got me to thinking, what if I had a friend who wanted to visit me, but couldn't because these higher floor rooms aren't wheelchair accessible? You could argue and say that I could visit them, but what if they're not even a Rider student? Not very accommodating, is it? I decided to check the Rider residence website to review how many buildings have access to elevators at the Lawrenceville campus and out of 14 places, only two: Ziegler and West Village, have access to elevators.

Two. Only two.

Now, I understand that Rider University wants to make other locations seem more attractive to incoming freshman, parents, staff, etc., so doing construction for locations such as the Bart Luedeke Center is "necessary," but isn't wanting to promote an atmosphere of wanting to stay on campus for all four years more important? Next year, Rider University mandates that any freshman living 30 miles or more from campus are obligated to live at Rider for two years.

So, in other words, not until junior year can these people decide to live elsewhere. Obviously, the university wants students to stay on campus, but yet the buildings they least renovate are our own residence buildings! I'm no expert but it feels counter-intuitive to make Rider seem attractive to students by updating buildings other than the ones new students will be forced to live in.

Over the summer, many people may have heard about a detrimental article and survey published that criticized Rider University's dorms.

In my local area, this article went viral with countless students and parents commenting on the truth behind the statistics and opinions. The common consensus? Everyone essentially agreed that Rider University's dorms are sub-par. Friends that have visited me have agreed that their own university had "much better" dorms. Now, don't get me wrong, I still love residence life and dorming is fun, even as a senior, but I can't disagree that the dorms themselves need improvements that do not seem to be in any near future. There is no way, in my opinion, that none of the staff members of importance at Rider didn't see the article, because it was quite popular. I expected some sort of announcement to be made in regards to it in order to improve image, reputation, and student life.

I'm not telling Rider to go ahead and start doing construction on every building all at once and force students to deal with it, but making improvements like elevators would be a great addition and start to a multi-layered plan. It's time we raise the bar for student resident life on campus.

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