Dos and Don’ts to Finish the Semester Strong

By Emily Szitas

When the due date for an important class project is looming near, try breaking it up into many small tasks.

DO –  Since it can be difficult to get yourself motivated to start on a huge task, handle the stress by breaking up the project into small intervals over several days. Try putting in 20 or 30 minutes of time daily at the library where you can focus and concentrate. Work on your project, and you will slowly see it begin to accumulate and, before you know it, you’ll be able to piece together a completed work.

DON’T – Don’t look at your calendar and decide you should dedicate the day before the due date entirely to working on your project. Morning, noon, night- work, work, work! If you decide to handle the entire thing in one day you are not going to look forward to that day. This approach may sound great now, but basically it amounts to procrastination. Don’t let yourself off the hook now only to feel overwhelmed later.

When studying for an exam, reward yourself for working hard.

DO – Set small goals for yourself that must be reached before you get to treat yourself. For example, make a rule for yourself that you have to finish studying a whole chapter or section before enjoying a can of pop or cup of coffee.

DON’T – When it comes down to crunch time, self-discipline is key. You may find that your friends all want to go out to dinner (and so do you!) or that you’re more in the mood to play Xbox or PlayStation, but everything must be put on hold until you get in your study time. Push these distractions away and remind yourself that you must earn your rewards.

When you’re feeling burned out, learn to relax.

DO – There’s a time to study, and there’s a time for leisure. Just as you can’t focus on class work while monitoring Twitter, you cannot fully relax when you keep thinking about how hard an upcoming exam will be. Here are a few techniques that you might use:

  • When you’re winding down, listen to calm, rhythmic music. Classical composers such as Haydn or Vivaldi promote calmness.
  • When you have little time, deep breathing exercises are easy: imagine ocean waves rolling…in… and out. Match your breath to the rate of the waves.
  • When you feel jittery, hit the gym. After you’ve put a few miles on the treadmill, your brain will release the endorphins that give you a feeling of well-being.
  • Visit Grace Library during Finals Week for snacks and activities to help you de-stress for success!

DON’T –  Don’t worry, drink excessive caffeine, or bite your nails. Relaxation occurs purposefully, and the tips listed above can give you something else to focus on other than your deadlines and test dates.

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