An update from Meaghan, a member of the Residential Commons Leadership Corps and a second-year student triple majoring in Environmental Science with an Earth Science emphasis, Geology, and Chemistry, while triple minoring in Math, English, and Environmental Engineering:

Welcome back from Thanksgiving break! I know I needed the rest before the stress of finals, and I’m sure most of you did too. As we near the night before finals, I wanted to offer a bit of advice for how to maximize studying time while also not driving yourself insane.

My life gets pretty crazy, especially toward the end of the year. I’m a triple major in sciences and a triple minor, not to mention a recent inductee to the NRHH (National Residence Hall Honorary), an RCLC representative for Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles, the current secretary for SPECTRUM, an E-Rep for Virginia-Snider, the E-Rep liaison for Environmental Society, and I sing in the Highland Park United Methodist Church choir every Wednesday and Sunday. That’s a lot, I know, and it’s been an interesting job, working to fit everything in while also maintaining my GPA. But with some creative scheduling I’ve figured out a good recipe for low-stress that I hope may help for finals.

First of all, it’s important to remember to work hard and play hard. Focusing entirely on your studies and not allowing your brain to relax and process isn’t always the best solution. While I recognize this works for some people, I’ve found it good to take a break every once in a while from studying. Watch an episode of your favorite TV show, or read a chapter of a non-school related book. Go out for dinner with friends or go see a movie. Do something fun for yourself that will lessen stress and keep you smiling.

Next, I find it’s better to stretch your studying over multiple days. For more difficult courses, cramming the night before won’t do you as much good as studying over multiple days will. For example, when I study for organic chemistry I study a chapter or two a day, going over practice problems as I go so that I’m familiar with the material. Also, I start from the beginning of the semester and work my way to the newer information. This way, you go over the material you might have forgotten first and finish with the newer information that you, hopefully, still remember and understand.

I’m not a fan of all-nighters, but if one is necessary I suggest you plan to get a few hours of sleep before any tests the next day. Take a few power naps as you study to give your brain a break, and make sure you don’t get dehydrated from all of the coffee. Stand up and get the blood flowing every hour or so, and do some squats or other exercises to keep your brain awake.

Finally, give yourself a pat on the back as you go along. Positivity is the best way to go about studying for finals. Maintain a good attitude, a can-do attitude, because if you go into studying telling yourself you don’t know anything then you’re less likely to absorb information. But if you are positive you will be more receptive to pertinent information.

So, don’t stress, take a deep breath, and remember: you can do this. Good luck on finals and have a wonderful winter break. Happy Holidays from the RCLC and we will see you next semester.