Survival Tips For the End of the Semester

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 by Priscilla Ameneyro

We’ve almost reached the end of Fall 2017. Everybody’s busy trying to meet deadlines and wrap up their classes. It can be hard to look forward to the holidays when all you can think about is that final paper you need to get done. Hang in there, the finish line is so close you can almost touch it! Here’s my advice for keeping your head straight while you tackle those final assignments, as well as start getting prepared for the holiday season.

Tip #1: Stay Focused
I’ll admit I’m a serial list-maker. Each week I write down all the things I want to accomplish, including any specific deadlines I need to meet. I also use a whiteboard to map out all the assignments and due dates for the semester, crossing them off as I complete each one. As well as making lists, I give myself daily goals (e.g. finish my assignment by lunchtime today). It’s also important to prioritize; I’ll star the items on my list that are non-negotiable. Find a method that works for you and stick to it.

The key to getting things done is staying on task. I know it’s easy to get distracted by your phone, the TV and the internet! You can end up wasting a lot of time, so save these things for when you’re done with your work. See my post on the best places to study if you need to get out of the house to focus. Listening to relaxing music in the background really helps me to concentrate. Also check out iSchool alumni Allison Randall-Gatt’s post Life + Work + School - How Can I Get it All Done? for some more great tips.

Tip #2: Take Care of Yourself
With good time management, you should still be able to find time to exercise and eat well. Making sure you are well rested and getting the right nutrients will ensure your mind stays focused and you can accomplish your best work. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Give yourself a reward when you complete tasks or achieve goals you have set. This could be anything from a 15 minute TV break to a healthy treat (my personal favorite is a square of dark chocolate). Sometimes I find it hard to switch my brain off at night as I’m planning all the things I need to do the next day. Listening to ocean sounds (I just use YouTube) or other music designed to help you sleep is a good way to ease into a slumber.

Tip #3: Reduce Stress
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s best to take some time out to center yourself before you try to get anything done. Here are some ideas for quick stress busters:

  • Go for a walk.
  • Do some stretches.
  • Do a light workout in your living room (squats, jumping jacks, sit-ups, etc.).
  • Play with the dog or cat.
  • Call a friend or family member.
  • Make yourself a hot drink and sip it slowly.
  • Meditate (try out the app HeadSpace for a three, five or 10 minute guided meditation).
  • Take deep breaths for one minute.
  • Watch a funny video; laughter is the best medicine!
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings.

It’s as Simple as 1, 2, 3
Stay focused, continue to take care of yourself and manage stress to make it through the semester unscathed. Then you can decompress and enjoy the holidays before doing it all again in January!

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