Surviving Finals

4 Ways To Surviv Finals And Other Exams In College

Everything I wish I knew before my first round of college finals.

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In the wonderful part of life that is college, finals are always rapidly approaching. I have been to three colleges during my college career (indecisive I know) but each finals experience was different. Because of this, I was unable to really figure out what worked for me until I settled into my final college and really started to get the hang of how I study. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to be prepared before my first round of college finals at the University of Arizona thanks to my lack of preparation from my first two colleges. So, here is what I learned the hard way and what worked for me when studying for my dreaded finals:


1. Sleep is SO important

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My first round of finals, I decided to pull two consecutive all-nighters in order to study for a big exam. What a mistake. It taught me a very valuable rule that I now stick to with no exceptions: I always go to bed by midnight. If I don't understand the material I'm studying, odds are staying up the whole night will not be as helpful as getting some rest. The brain continues to process information long after we go to sleep. So, making sure I get at least 8 hours of solid sleep helps me process and I usually understand things a lot better once I've woken up.

2. Coffee is not always king

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My first semester and into my first round of finals, I had this insane caffeine/coffee addiction (Five to Seven cups per day) that cost me so much money and didn't end up being helpful in the end because my tolerance was so high, I would need to down two cups of coffee before the caffeine woke me up at all. Especially when I hit my peak of five to seven cups per day, I was jittery and unable to focus at all. I ended up kicking the coffee addiction to save money (Starbucks is so expensive) but after experiencing a serious caffeine crash mid-final, I can assure you that coffee addiction is not the move during finals.

3. Group study!

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Friends can be super distracting but they can also be super helpful. Within my major, we all bring different things to the table and do really well in varying concepts of each class we take together. Studying together helps us not only understand what we originally didn't and solidify our understanding of concepts we think we do know. Plus, it's always nice to have company when doing something as boring and tedious as cramming for finals.

4. Listen to your body

If your brain is telling you to slow down or take a break, DO IT. If your body is sore and you feel like you need to stretch, DO IT. The most important part about studying is making sure you set yourself up for success not only by stuffing all the information down your throat but also by listening to yourself and making sure you give your body and your mind what it needs to be healthy and open to all the knowledge you're forcing down your throat.

Remember, this is all stuff that worked for me. I'm not saying cutting out coffee and studying with your entire major is the way to go for you. The best advice I can give as a college student is just to figure out what study techniques work best for you and stick with it. Your studying may look different than the people around you and it may even vary from class to class but once you find your groove and really get into it, you'll be all set to totally CRUSH your finals.

Good luck!

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Being Home From School, As Told By Rachel Green

You never know how good you have it on campus until it's 9pm and all the stores at home are closed.
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Oh, look, another Odyssey Article about the struggles of being a college student home for summer break. Bet you didn't see that one coming. Our lives aren't actually that difficult, but it is definitely weird being home. If you know a college student, chances are that despite the workload, the late nights and the sub-par dining commons food, they wish they were back on campus. That's how magical college life can be. And being home isn't bad, per se, it's just... not campus.

1. You miss your friends. Like crazy.

It's not that your family isn't great company, or your high school friends aren't really your friends anymore. They are, and you love them! It's just that you don't bond with anyone quite like you do with the people you're at the library with until four o'clock in the morning, working on an essay you realize is due in two days and not the next one.

2. You realize just how good you had it at the dining commons.

Who knew you could miss mystery meat and pre-packaged sandwiches? College students who realize that cooking is not their thing, and the easiest snacks are the sugary ones you buy for a dollar at the gas station.

3. You have to get a summer job, and it's not the cushy three-hour gig you had at school.

The first two weeks after you get home are so full of hope. You run around to twelve different stores, picking up applications, flashing that college-counselor certified resume. And it almost feels as though you've got it together. Until week three hits and you're still jobless and still not unpacked.

4. You finally get to see your college friends, and leaving them feels like ripping an arm off.

I mean you miss them for a reason. What, did I expect saying goodbye a second time would be easier? Of course not. And the amount of planning that had to go into getting together with them was sort of absurd.

5. In your unemployment, your parents give you some chores to do... and then they ask if you finished them.

Where do the days go? You have maybe a few babysitting jobs, minimal errands to run and still there doesn't seem to be enough time to vacuum and do the dishes. Maybe the twenty minutes before your mom gets home from work is enough time to give the illusion of cleanliness.

6. Your siblings are always in your room. Always.

You love your family. Really truly. But it's easier to love them if you don't spend every second sitting right next to them, picking up on all the annoying little habits they have. Pro tip; a good relationship with a sibling means never, ever eating popcorn near each other.

7. You've caught up on sleep, organized your room, done your chores and ran out of Netflix shows. What now.

There are very few things worse than knowing it's summer vacation, knowing you should be out having fun before another school year begins... and still being bored out of your mind.

8. In the end, though, you'll be okay

There's only so much summer to go around. Get done what you've been meaning to, talk to your friends frequently and get ready for another fun-filled school year in the coming fall. You'll need all the rest you can get.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros. TV

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5 Reasons Why Staying At College For The Summer Is The Ultimate Power Move

No school, no rules, summer vacation at the best place on Earth, also known as college.

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As summer begins, it brings in the joy of no more school but for most what summer really brings is the sad realization that we have to leave our favorite place and go back to our boring home town with none of our new best friends. Although some have decided to stay at college for the summer and they will soon realize why this will be the best choice that they will be making all summer.

1. NO PARENTS 

What's better than no school, warm weather, and most importantly no one to say, "Are you just going to sleep till 2:30 p.m. every day this summer?"

1. It's like the weekend, but every day

Do you know what weekends felt like during the school year when you didn't have anything to do? No? You never had any free weekends? Wow, I'm so sorry. Well, imagine a weekend that you didn't have to do anything. Now multiply that one weekend by seven and you get seven Saturday like days where you do not have a single care in the world.

3. No "Go cut the grass!"

For the sons, you know that annoying time every week when your dad is going to say, "Go cut the grass." There is nothing you can do to get out of it. Well, staying at school for the summer means no more nagging. You get to choose what you do now.

4. The bond of friendship

The friends you make when you stay at college for the summer are different than any other bond. Mostly because you all don't have a care in the world since it's summer in your favorite place. It's a right of passage to call someone your summer college best friends. These are best friends that words wouldn't do justice.

5. The townies

Everybody always wonders what happens to a college town when all the college kids go home. Well, the townies come back in full swing and take their town back. If you stay at your college, you get to experience what most can't even describe in words. To the one mid-40s guy trying to relive his glory days. To the old men hitting on the college girls at the local pub. To the weird towny creatures that make you shiver with fright as you drive past them. Have fun townies, you only have three months.

That dream of "I wish I could just stay here at college with all these people but have no responsibilities" is finally coming true.

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