End the Semester Strong
The rapidly approaching end to the semester usually creates a mixture of excitement for the end of classes, stress about exams, and many other emotions encompassed into one big ball of anxious anticipation. You’ve survived all-nighters, sporting events, pop quizzes, random roommates, living on your own, and so on, but it is easy to sometimes forget why we are in college. Do not let yourself think since the end of the semester is in sight that you can start slacking off. This is your time to prove to everyone, including yourself, that you can finish strong. Of all the things you can be during at this time, one of the best things to be is organized. Although this is a great characteristic to carry out through the semester, the end of the year is the time to let your organization skills shine. By being organized and systematic, you will be able to figure out how to get everything done in order to finish the semester well.
First, figure out your exam schedule. This may seem obvious, but finals are not on the same schedule as your classes. The times for finals can generally be found in your class syllabus or on your school’s website under that semester’s official calendar. Write down all the university designated times for your final exams in your calendar well before exams even start. Then make a list on a sticky note of your final exams as well, and put it somewhere you will see often to make sure you don’t get the dates and times mixed up in your head. All students are susceptible to forgetting or sleeping through exams. Don’t forget to also find out what you need for your exams and be prepared well in advance, whether you need a scantron, bluebook, pencils, or scrap paper. It’s also a good idea to bring a water bottle to exams that are longer than two hours.
Second, make a study schedule for your exams. The end of the semester is the end to lots of fun and exciting things, but ending your classes well is most important and should be the main focus of each day. Go ahead and write down times in which you plan to study and finish assignments for each of your classes. You will have less anxiety about being ready for your exams because you have a game plan and know how to structure effective study session. This will make your life far more enjoyable than it would if you had to be in the library until 3am the night before your biology final because you waited to start studying for it that day.
Third, don’t forget about your textbooks after you finish your classes. If you rented textbooks at the start of the semester, you have to return them or be charged an overdue fee. Also, many students find they can sell textbooks they bought and get back some of the money from buying them, but don’t expect it to be as much money. Bookstores typically buy back used books for students to resell the next semester, that is unless they are getting a new edition or the professor isn’t using that book anymore. Some books you may want to keep for personal use for your major. However, it is easy to forget in the rush to get home for break to return your rented books or make back a little money from the one’s you wish to sell back after your finals are over.
Fourth, clean your room/house/apartment before leaving school. In the stress of finals and ending the semester, it is easy to let cleanliness go. However, remember usually winter and summer breaks last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Therefore your dirty dishes, perishable foods, and overflowing trash are going to be a lot worse after a break if you don’t take care of them before leaving. Also, cleaning is said to be a great study break because it gets your mind off of your work and gets you up and moving after long periods of sitting at a desk. But the bottom line is to not let yourself leave with your room/house/apartment looking like a wild animal lives there because if you don’t, one just might be when you return.
Fifth, thank your professors. This may sound odd, but if you’ve had an amazing professor who really positively impacted your semester, let them know! Also, going out of your way to thank your professors is a great way to begin making contacts for good academic references. You never know when you might need a reference or recommendation for a job, scholarship, program, or leadership opportunity. So make sure you stand out from the crowd. You also never know what could come of making a lasting impression on a professor. Realize that they know other people in their field of study, and you will one day be trying to find a job in that field.
The end of the semester is a time of many emotions. But don’t let your brain go on vacation before your final exams are over. Make sure you have the correct times for you finals written down and plan effective study sessions to be ready by the time they arrive. Then don’t forget to also tie up loose ends in all areas of your life, from saying goodbye to professors, roommates, and friends to making sure to not leaving a mess behind when you finally leave for a well-deserved break.