Tag: Finals Week

The Finish Line is Within Sight

The Finish Line is Within Sight

Business people cross the finish line

It was only a couple of days ago that I was able to enjoy my Thanksgiving break and not have to worry so much about schoolwork. Once I came back to school, I realized that finals were closer than I had expected. At this point in the semester, there are only two full weeks of school left which is the equivalent of 10 days. With that in mind, the finish line to ending the semester is so close!

At the same time, it is very critical that you do not slack off in these last few days. Around this time, most professors will have several things due for instance, papers, presentations, projects, quizzes, and unit exams. When you are like me and take 18 (or more) credits worth of classes, people better start calling you a warrior.


Things to keep in mind/start doing:

  1. Do ANYTHING you can NOW. If you are a procrastinator, this message should be a valuable and handy tip. For those who do not procrastinate, this is a helpful message so you can relax later on and not have to be so stressed. With today being Wednesday, there is only 7 days left of the semester, it is best to use up all the free time you have to dedicate to your studies or obligated errands. Time is of the essence!
  2. Make a DAILY checklist. Many people underestimate the power of writing things down vs. memorizing things to do. Checklists help you stay very organized and forces you to finish specific things ON TIME. Without checklists, you may want to procrastinate, which is a no-no. Having daily checklists help you to think within a day’s time frame instead of view the week broadly. Plus, for me, it is quite satisfying to physically check off boxes and have a good feeling of accomplishment!
  3. COFFEE might be your new best friend. As we near finals week, there will definitely be a lot of assignments due and exams to study for. Coffee, if it is your preference, will provide you with an extra boost of energy and motivation to study more and focus.
  4. CHRISTMAS SPIRIT officially comes AFTER finals week.  Unfortunately, this year we end the semester closer to Christmas than we normally tend to. However, that does not mean that you should direct your (full or partial) attention and focus away from your studies and schoolwork. This may affect you from boosting that B+ to an A… scenarios like this, people tend to regret not putting enough effort into their studying as they should have. If anything, go all out for New Years and celebrate hard; look forward to that holiday more than Christmas.
  5. If you are CONFUSED about anything, ASK. Asking does not hurt anyone. You will gain clarity on a certain topic and have more confidence when you are asked that topic on an exam.

I understand that these things are leaning toward the more extreme and more self-disciplined methods to preparing for finals week, but nevertheless, they are ways to help you maintain or rise academically, which is the reason we go to school. We want to succeed, so we study for our classes by doing well on our exams and classwork. These all stem down to the basic essentials of how to study effectively and wisely.


Time for a Study Break…or a Trip to Pompeii

Time for a Study Break…or a Trip to Pompeii

Since the beginning of the semester my friends and I have been talking about taking a trip to Pompeii. We talked about going a few different weekends, but we never got ourselves together and made the day trip. Then all of the sudden it was the week before finals and we decided we needed to get our act together and head down the coast to Pompeii.

To get to Pompeii from Rome we took the train from Termini station to Naples where we transferred to a local train that dropped us off just down the street from the city’s ruins. We ended up buying tickets for Pompeii and Herculaneum for 20 Euro—another city that was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption that we visited later that day.

With help from the guide book I had with me and the brochure provided we gave ourselves a pretty solid tour of the city. Pompeii was a lot bigger than I expected and not covered in ash at all like I thought it might be. The city was set up like a typical ancient Roman town with a large gate at the entrance, a Forum where most of the political, judicial, and religious matters would have taken place, and cobbled streets lined with villas.

Many of the buildings in the city were actually quite well preserved so we got a glimpse of a traditional Roman bathhouse and several villas with beautiful frescoes and mosaics. The Romans were masters of engineering as can be seen in marvels like the Colosseum, but I was just as impressed by the no-slip tiled floors in the bath. And especially impressed by the “fast food restaurants” we saw throughout the town. It was uncommon for Pompeiians to cook lunch at their homes so there were counters set up with spaces for pots to keep warm or cool for people to enjoy quick lunches together during the day.

Pompeii’s most famed remnants are the plaster casts of the people who once lived there. These eerie molds show them in their final moments and left me feeling uneasy. Without these casts it’s easy to imagine that this city just deteriorated over time, but these offer a reminder to the devastating end of this city. Most of the plaster molds are actually in a museum in Naples, which we were unable to visit, but I’m sure it would be worth the trip.

After lunch, we spent the rest of our afternoon in Herculaneum. This smaller town closer to the coast was even more well-preserved than Pompeii. And because it is lesser known there weren’t as many tourists—never a bad thing. If you ever get the chance I would visit both of these cities since they offer different looks into the past.

Even though we were cutting it close to the end of the semester, we managed to sneak this trip in and it worked out as quite the nice study break. I’m still a little taken aback by the fact that a trip to Pompeii could count as a Finals study break. Yea, I don’t mind studying in Rome at all.

The Countdown is On: Winter Break Here We Come

The Countdown is On: Winter Break Here We Come

Tomorrow marks the official start of finals week, which means in 7 days or less Loyola students are free to go home. I for one am forever grateful for the person that decided to give college students an entire month off between fall and spring semesters. Especially after a week of non-stop studying, a stress free month at home is well-deserved.

While anticipating winter break there are a few things every college student should watch out for. First off, avoid settling into “break mode” too early. (Break mode being when all you want to do is relax, drink hot chocolate, and visit with friends and family–not conducive to finals studying in the slightest.) Working hard all semester makes you want to coast right into winter break. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. Just think, studying extra hard for a week will be followed by the most relaxing month of the year.

I think the best strategy to avoiding “break mode” is by taking your week one step at a time. When you look too far ahead it’s easy to lose sight of all the things you have to do before break actually starts. Although packing for winter break instead of studying for your last test sounds like a good idea–it’s definitely not. Give yourself about an hour the day before you travel home to pack up. Keep in mind that you’ll only be gone a month. Don’t drag home too much or you’ll be regretting it in January.

During your last week on campus be sure to deep clean your residence hall room. There’s nothing worse than coming back to a mini-fridge with month old milk in it–well except for an entire room that smells like it. Also, double check your class schedule for the spring semester. If you’ve already changed your mind about taking a certain class the academic advisers will still be there to help. Waiting any longer to adjust your schedule is not something you’ll want to deal with during your time off.

So get down to it, Ramblers! Fight off the urge to sink into “break mode” for another week and then you’re home free–literally.

Finals Week: It is Possible

Finals Week: It is Possible

Finals are no one’s favorite part of the year and I think each semester they sneak up on us a little sooner than we expect. Today marked the last day of classes for the fall semester of 2014. Which means 24 hour quiet hours in the residence halls have started and this weekend will be spent studying in the Information Commons instead of out enjoying the city. As you look ahead to your always daunting exam schedule, here are a few tips to help get you through the week:

  1. Write out your schedule in a fun way. Break out the crayons, markers, or colored pens to write out your exam schedule. It’s easy to let yourself be in a bad mood during such a stressful week. So cheer yourself up with a schedule that at least looks pretty.
  2. Encourage your roommates and floormates. My roomies and I created a finals week wall in our kitchen with all of our exam times on it, plus some Christmas doodles. We also decorated our hallway with post-its of things we are grateful for to keep our spirits high as we take on the week.
  3. Don’t be afraid of a study break. Without classes to attend during the week you’ll have all kinds of “free time” to study. But if you have your nose in a book the entire day you will get burnt out quickly. So don’t be afraid to take a break and a deep breath. (I’m already planning to watch Elf on Wednesday–Loyola’s study day with no finals–to relax a little).
  4. Sleep well and eat well. If you don’t schedule your study time wisely you’ll end up staying up all night and making yourself miserable. And don’t let your study snacking get out of control, aim to eat healthier snacks like nuts and fruit. A combination of good sleeping and eating will keep you energized and ready to go on test days.
  5. Dress for success. My favorite finals week pick me up is dressing up for all my exams. I’m a firm believer in the “dress for success” mantra. I always feel more confident and perform better when I put a little extra effort into my test day outfits. You only have to switch out of your sweats for a two hour test–you can do it.

Finals week may seem like an impossible feat, but trust me when I say it’s possible. Keep your head up, go grab a coffee, and study, study, study!

Preparing For Finals

Preparing For Finals

This week is the last week of classes before finals.  For many students, this week is just as difficult, if not more difficult, than finals themselves.  As the semester comes to a close, the last couple of weeks are almost always packed with lengthy term papers and final projects.

One of the most daunting assignments on my pre-finals to do list is a research paper for my class, Studies in the Renaissance.  I am researching John Donne and George Herbert, and examining how their poetry was influenced by the religious and historical events of seventeenth century England.  The paper is not due until Friday afternoon, but with all the other things I have to do I figured I would get a head start.

Unfortunately, I have had a hard time concentrating.  With hints of approaching warm weather and plans for Ghana, it has become increasingly difficult to rid myself of distractions long enough to write.  Thankfully, I am able to go to Loyola’s Information Commons (IC) to get some work done.  Though it gets pretty crowded around finals week, it is still much easier to concentrate in a library setting.

My favorite place to study in the IC is the silent room, which many people call the “Harry Potter room” due to its Hogwarts-esque quality.  The room is silent, which is perfect for students such as myself that work best without noise.  Loyola also allows students to reserve private study rooms, which can also be prime studying locations during finals.  The IC is a great place to focus on school work, and does a great job of catering to many different study styles.

So as finals week quickly approaches, I will surely be spending a lot of time in the library.  My only comfort is that in less than two weeks, I will be done for the summer!