Finishing the Semester Strong

April 17, 2024

It’s that time of the semester again – final exams are quickly approaching. This can be a chaotic time for many of us, full of deadlines and exams. During such busy and challenging times, it can be easy for us to feel overwhelmed and forget to take care of our health. While it’s normal to feel stressed during this time of the year, there are steps that you can take to balance your coursework, personal responsibilities, and health, which will help you to stay organized and resilient under pressure:

Juggling Multiple Tasks:

  • Create a Schedule: Develop a study schedule with specific times for studying, attending classes, and taking breaks. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible to maximize productivity and reduce last-minute cramming.
  • Prioritize Tasks: Prioritize your tasks based on deadlines and importance. Focus on completing high-priority tasks first to avoid feeling overwhelmed by an excessive workload.
  • Engage in Focused Study Time: It can be easy to get distracted while we are studying, which makes tasks take longer than they should. Try turning off your laptop notifications and putting your phone in the other room. You can also try timed study intervals, such as the Pomodoro technique (below) to help you focus.
    • Pomodoro Technique
      • Decide on the task to be done
      • Set the timer to 25 minutes and focus on your work during this time
      • Once the timer rings, take a 5 minute break
      • After four cycles of this, take a longer break (15-30 minutes)

Taking Care of your Physical and Mental Well-Being:

  • Get Enough Rest: Ensure you're getting enough sleep each night to support your cognitive function and concentration. Avoid sacrificing sleep to study because it can negatively impact your memory and overall performance. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, you could try the SimplyNoise app, a free app that generates white noise.
  • Practice Self-Care: Incorporate activities that help you relax into your routine, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends. Taking breaks to recharge your mind can help to avoid burnout and increase your stamina and resilience during the end of the semester. There are several guided mediation videos out there…if you are looking for some, try the Calm app, which provides free 2-minute guided meditations. This could be a good way to take quick breaks in-between studying!
  • Meal Prep: When we are busy, nutritious meals are often the first to go. But without healthy foods, it’s difficult to have enough energy to get all your tasks done. Try meal prepping over the weekend so that you can focus on your work during the week. This will clear up time for you during the week, while still making sure that you can eat healthy meals. Here are some healthy meal-prep ideas to get your ideas flowing!

Seeking Support from Others:

  • Connect with Peers: Form study groups or partner with classmates to review course material and share study tips. Collaborating with others can offer different perspectives and foster a sense of community during challenging times.
  • Utilize Campus Resources: Take advantage of academic support services at Carolina, such as The Learning CenterThe Writing Center, and Teaching Assistants, for additional help with coursework and exam preparation. These resources are designed to help you succeed and reduce stress.

Although this is a challenging time of the semester, these strategies can help you to stay resilient, do well on your assignments/exams, and promote your health. Remember, the end of the semester requires stamina, and it’s difficult to do this if you are not taking care of your mind and body. Finish strong – summer is almost here!

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