written by: Cosme Lozano
We all love Thanksgiving. It is a time where we can catch our breath, be with family, and enjoy some good food. All is well, until the day after. If you aren’t caught up in the horde of Black Friday shoppers, you are most likely at home trying to figure Christmas gifts. On top of that, if you are a college student, you still have to prepare for finals. Life gets really crazy in a short amount of time and it can honestly be overwhelming. Well, if you were a fan of my survival guide to midterms, then you’ll love this!
First and foremost, we have to address holiday shopping. I HIGHLY encourage all people to try doing their shopping during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. At the time of writing this, these holidays have already passed. Fear not though, as a lot of major retailers offer deals and special offers all throughout the Cyber Monday week, and in some cases they keep the deals going for the rest of the year. So definitely get out there and take care of business!
Next, we need to focus on school. Guys, it’s crunch time and all hands on deck. There is no need to panic though, as if you prepare right, finals can be a breeze. My biggest tip for taking finals in college is to prioritize your finals in a hierarchy. Whatever final is at the top is the final you spend the most time on. This helps you either mentally or physically map out a plan of attack for taking on finals. Whatever finals are toward the bottom are finals you don’t need to spend much time on. My other piece of advice is to use final study guides, and write down the answers to them in various ways. By this I mean writing down the answers on a piece of paper, and then typing the answers on a document. This may seem repetitive and or a waste of time, but the repetition is exactly what we are looking for. For some people, they can purely study off a study guide while others need additional resources. I am one of those people in the latter. It has been extremely helpful for me to write my study guide content on other sheets of paper or typing it out.
I also recommend working with other students, if you can. As they always say, teamwork makes the dreamwork and this is usually the case in finals. Whether you are creating study groups, working on the study guide together, or going over example problems, working in a team in very useful in preparing for finals. If you are a student who does not want to work in a group, talking with your family or roommate can be a good alternative.
When choosing blocks to study, make sure you are also choosing times that are open for you. You can try studying after classes, but you might not have the energy or attention to sit down for a serious study session. Try to schedule your study sessions for parts of the day where you have the most energy. If you are a morning person, maybe this is your time to study. If you are more of a night owl, use the peace and quiet to get ahead and study.
When it comes time to take your finals, make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating well. Before you take the test, try to have something like a protein shake, banana, oatmeal or eggs.
Once you’ve taken your finals and are done, you can catch your breath. Momentarily. The work doesn’t stop there, as you still have to get remaining gifts and wrap all of them. Usually college students have a week or so before Christmas after finals, and this is the time you have to get everything else in order. If you have all your gifts taken care of, congratulations, you are now on break and can enjoy the holidays.
During all this madness, it can be helpful to take a moment and really be present in reality. This is a special time of the year, and as Ferris Buller says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. Spend time with your family and friends, that or take time for yourself. Once you are officially done with school, your only other assignment is to sit back and enjoy the holiday season.
This is a very stressful time of the year that can overwhelm anyone. Like anything in life, through careful preparation you can accomplish just about anything. I hope this finals study guide serves you well, as it is a formula that is tried and true for me. My only other suggestion would be for students to not be scared to approach teachers about study guide and finals questions. Teachers are there to help students, and in a lot of cases they really want to help their students achieve the best grade possible. Buying and wrapping gifts can be hard, but buying gifts early on and throughout the month leading up to Christmas can take a lot of stress and burden off your plate. Be resourceful and always be on the prowl for special deals and offers. Christmas time is a very special time of the year, (my favorite) and it is a great time to reflect on what you’ve done throughout the year as well as spend quality time with your family and friends!
– Happy holiday’s and happy finals season from all of us here at the Career Success center!