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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

 

Thanksgiving is over, and we all know what that means—the Christmas season is officially underway! Christmas is a weird time on campus—after Thanksgiving break, there are only six class days left, and then finals week. Term papers come due, final projects need to be crammed in, graduate school applications finished, and yet, all I ever want to do is curl up on my couch with a mug of tea and read a book, and maybe rouse myself to go out to dinner or for drinks, to try and squeeze in a little more time with my friends before heading home for three weeks of freedom.

But this is NOT a good time of the semester to tank it. As much as I’d love to completely coast till the end of term, that’s a really bad idea, seeing as, in most classes, the last couple of weeks almost entirely determine your grade. Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies to keep me going to the end of the term. And what are those, you might ask?

  1. Prepare. I suppose it’s a little late to start, if you haven’t already, but I’ve been working on my major projects all term. My major papers have been written, the bulk of my reading is done, and I’m essentially done with grad school apps. All I’ve got left is a German paper, which can be knocked out in an afternoon. By getting the big stuff done ahead of time, end-of-semester panic can be avoided.
  2. Study smart. When I was a freshman, before I took a final, I’d reread EVERYTHING that we did the whole semester. As a lit major, that was a lot of reading. Now, I try to get the exam topic ahead of time, or find a study guide. If that’s possible, it can really direct my studying. If not, though, I just reread my notes and find weak places in my knowledge. That’s what I concentrate on, instead of cramming my head full of information I don’t need.
  3. Break it up. When you’re studying, do a chapter, then go for a walk. Have a snack. Take a shower. Cramming doesn’t work. But if you give yourself a break, you’ll retain the information better. Little rewards can help keep you motivated, too.
  4. Celebrate! Despite the stress and anxiety and ridiculous business, don’t forget to, you know, have fun. Go out with your friends. Decorate your room or apartment, as best you can. Make hot chocolate and play in the snow (well, if we ever GET snow). School is important, but staying sane? That’s pretty valuable too. 

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