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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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21 Must-Haves You Must Have For Freshman Year At Virginia Tech

The packing list for freshman year seems never ending but make sure you have these 21 things before your parents leave you in your new home!

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When I moved into my dorm for my first year at Tech, I thought I had everything but by the end of the first week, I realized that I was far from right. Thinking back to that first month, I wished that I had these 21 things so my life would have been a whole lot easier.

Tide Stick

It's going to be your best friend because you won't have the time (or energy) to wash clothes all the time, especially when it's just your fav shirt that has the stain on it and it costs $3 per load.

Sneakers

Being comfortable is going to win over fashion one day and you'll thank me when you can pull out those cute yet comfy Nike's that are in the closet. Plus, if you go to a big school like I do, you're going to be walking A LOT so your feet will thank you.

A Vacuum

Girls! We all shed like crazy & there is nothing worse than walking across your brand new rug and getting a ball full of hair caught in between your toes. Needless to say, it's just gross. So, quick and easy way to fix that is to run a good and strong vacuum over your carpet every week.

Shower Shoes

I cannot stress this enough. I know you might think that all the girls are like you and they're clean and neat but plot twist - THEY ARE NOT. Girls are disgusting and community showers are your worst nightmare so wear the shower shoes. They can help you from slipping in the shower & you won't have to step on the nasty hair rat that's in the shower drain that the girl before you forgot to clean out.

Step Stool

I didn't have this issue because I'm blessed with being six feet tall but my poor roommate had the hardest time. Some dorms have cubby holes above the built-in closets and it's a great idea, however, they are nearly impossible to get into if you are less than six feet. So save yourself some stress & pick yourself up one of those collapsable stools that can easily slide under your bed.

Extra LONG chargers

These will be your best friends because some dorms don't have outlets conveniently beside your bed so you have to plug everything half-way across the room. Even if that's not the case, it's always nice to have a charger that you can turn over with in bed and NOT having your phone come unplugged.

Lap Desks

You see them in the store and think, "Oh, I'm never going to use that." Ha. Ha. Ha. Buy one. Even if you don't do your homework in your bed, you'll want to watch Netflix and it helps to have the lap desk so your stomach doesn't become molted lava after five episodes from the heat off of your laptop.

Side note for the ladies (and guys): it's scientifically proven that the heat from laptops will decrease egg & sperm count. I know we aren't worrying about that now since we're in college but you know, one day, your parents are going to want some grandkids.

White Out

You're going to make so many mistakes, it's almost funny. There will come a time (finals week) that you aren't even sure if you spelled your name right so buy some white out just in case you have some misspellings or write the right answer in the wrong blank. Because professors hate nothing more than sloppy papers and homework assignments.

Extra Pair of Shower Shoes

There comes a time (second semester) when you go back to college from Christmas break and you realize how disgusting your old shower shoes are and how much grime and dirt they have been through. Save yourself some stress and a mental breakdown by having a back-up pair so you can throw those old, disgusting ones away.

Ear Plugs

They might be uncomfortable but when you're sleep deprived from your lovely hall mates bringing every tom, dick, and harry into their room and doing God knows what, you'll thank me because nothing is worse than being woken up by beds hitting the wall.

Yummy Snacks

Yes, the dinning hall has food. But what are you going to do when you have a craving for Pop-Tarts or cookies at 1 a.m.? Cry. That's what you are going to do unless you take my advice & make a list of all the yummy snacks your mom has bought for you in your life and go shopping after you have moved in.

Extra Headphones

At least two pairs of headphones. Why? Because one pair is going to break or you're going to lose a pair or leave a pair in the lecture hall. Just be safe rather than sorry because there is nothing worse than having to listen to loud classmates when you're hungover, I mean, tired.

Pictures from Home

You might think that you're ready to leave your parents and hometown and you might be right. But when the weather starts to get cold and Christmas is slowly approaching, you'll start being homesick. So, even if you don't have pictures on the wall, keep them somewhere to remind you where you came from and that you have a support system.

Fans!

I was blessed but also cursed to live in one of the best dorms at VT, Pritch. But Pritch has no AC so when you are living without AC in the middle of August, you might get Hades and your dorm confused. Quick and Easy way to fix that is to bring, at least, two fans. If you and your roommate each bring two fans, you will be as cool as can be.

Keurig

The great thing about a Keurig is that if can work for either coffee or tea. And if you get the small, one cup at a time, Keurig, it easily fits in a dorm. Just make sure to clean it out every once in a while because it can get moldy and yeah, just clean it.

A bucket

Random, right? Well, when you can get written up by your RA for puking in your community bathroom for alcohol poisoning, a bucket can come in handy. Also, if you're just sick in general because you caught the Hokie Plague, it's good to have a bucket by your bed.

Actual Utensils

It sounds silly but get real utensils. Don't use plastic all of the time because it's horrible for the environment and let's face it, we are the future and we need to take care of the Earth. Besides, it's a money saver when you can just wash the fork and not have to go to Walmart to buy them every month.

Clorox Wipes

They are your friends! There are so many germs when you live in a community like a dorm. From door knobs to sinks so just wipe everything down once a week so you don't get sick because I spent my freshman year sick and it was miserable.

First Aid Kit

There is no mom to fix your blister or cut on the back of your leg. There is also no nurse for you to run to when you have a headache in the middle of class — you have to be a mom & a nurse all in one. So, Target sells these really cute first aid kits that you can fill up with bandages and medicines.

Sewing Kit

A button is going to fall off of your fav sweater or you're going to tear your fav shirt because you were in a rush. So, even if you don't know how to sew, they created YouTube for a reason. Look it up and fix it.

Side note: Don't forget decent scissors

Command Strips

These are a God sent because they stick to almost anything - sometimes they even stick to things that tape does not. I used them to hang up my lights, tapestry and pictures throughout my dorm freshman year and nothing fell down. (except that one time that I accidentally pulled down my tapestry in my sleep lol) But seriously, command strips will save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Cover Image Credit:

Hannah King

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