Down to the last stretch

| Staff Columnist
Only a few days ’til the first exams, our nerves are stretched tight and we’re ready to bite anyone’s head off. Take a deep breath! Whatever happens, however it goes, it is over. We survived our first semester in college, and we only have a mildly bruised ego to show for it! Here are some tips for making it through finals:

1. The most important thing is probably to not over-stress. It doesn’t help, but rather impedes you from focusing and from doing what needs to be done. Wired nerves only lead to freezing up when you finally get that exam. Remain calm; it can only be beneficial to you.

2. The second most important thing is to remain organized. There are so many papers to write, so many classes to study for, that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to try to do everything at the same time. This, however, sometimes results in getting nothing accomplished at all. So, start early, and give yourself plenty of time to do everything you need to do. Unless you work better under pressure, don’t cram! Make a study schedule, and focus solely on certain classes or topics a day.

3. Don’t get distracted! With all the free time, it’s easy to oversleep, be lazy or to want to hang out with friends before we all scatter to the four corners of the world. Don’t shut yourself in your room. Take some time to relax, but also make time for studying. Find the spot where you are least easily distracted, may it be Olin, your room or the study room, and buckle down.

4. Don’t forget to eat! I personally get so engrossed when I’m studying for exams that I refuse to walk down to Bear’s Den to get food. If this applies to you as well, then I’d say stock up on snacks, preferably healthy ones, so as not to starve in the process of studying.

5. Work smart, not hard! Be selective in your studies. Don’t try to relearn everything, and don’t waste time on things you already know. Focus first on what you know will cause you problems on the final exam.

6. Go to review and help sessions, if need be. It’s your opportunity to ask questions and to clarify things you don’t understand. They can also be useful in narrowing down what you need to review versus what you already know. And if you are skillful enough, maybe you can even extract some hints or spoilers about the exam from your professors.

7. Finally, let us not forget that, although it may seem otherwise, these exams will not make or break your chances of success. The rest of your future does not hang on how well you do next week. A word to freshmen disappointed with their performance this semester: the most important thing is to show improvement. Even if you didn’t do as well as you wanted to this time around, guess what? The second semester is only a month or so away, and you still have seven semesters left to prove yourself to medical schools, law schools, potential employers and whomsoever you seek to impress. You are only getting started, so don’t let it get to you!

Good luck to everyone, and have a great break!

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