Prioritizing is the key to success during finals

By Stephanie Youssef

 With the end of the semester comes the impending doom of something every student shudders at: finals. 

Yes, it is now the semi-magical time of the year when library attendance hits at an all-time high, coffee sales spike sharply and students’ lives reach a whole new level of miserable — really miserable.

As I approach the end of my sophomore year, I, too, am experiencing the debilitating effects of these horrible exams. During previous semesters, they have caused me to leave my room a disheveled mess because I put off laundry, cleaning and making my bed for fear of wasting potential study time. Heck, even my physical being was a disheveled mess, as I threw on random T-shirts, completely ditched my usual workout routine, ate whatever junk food I had and postponed showers for longer than I should have — all in the name of studying for finals. And many people I know have done the same. 

However, this semester will be different for me. Despite the fact that finals are here, I will make sure to keep up with my daily routines, and others should do the same. Allotting time to maintain a healthy life while still prioritizing finals is a more effective way to take on the end of the semester. It will leave us less miserable, too. 

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. We should still study and take finals seriously, as they are a big factor in our academic success. But what I am proposing is that finals should not completely eat up our time. There are merits in balancing our personal and academic lives well — like keeping our sanity intact, for one.  

For example, usually at the end of the semester, I would uphold my semi-annual tradition of completely shutting down my social life. Generally, this routine involved me deactivating my social media profiles for two weeks to prevent me from being distracted while studying — something that many students do to rid themselves of addictive social media sites. Looking at this method critically, though, I can’t help but feel it is rather silly. 

My social media profiles should be able to remain active without affecting how I study for finals. I shouldn’t have to cut myself off from the rest of civilization. 

As independent college students, we are solely responsible for the things that are required of us in daily life. The key to success during finals is not shutting down our lives, but rather prioritizing them. We should recognize that social networking isn’t the first thing we should be doing and make sure it comes after studying. We should exercise our self-control — we are grown ups, we can do it. I mean, if the four-year-old preschoolers I know can sit still in rooms full of Legos and Play-Doh, what is to say that we can’t review our chemistry lectures online without opening new tabs? 

Additionally, a ten minute shower is not going to single-handedly cause us to fail any one of our finals. I think that taking extra minutes to wash my face, make my bed and load the washing machine are all still worthy uses of my time. Part of the reason why classes stop during finals and why we have reading day is so we have that time to study for finals. Because of this, we should have time to at least remain hygienic.

I was previously under the impression that sacrificing all of my routines was in the name of studying, and that a short lapse in personal hygiene was just part of being studious. But is spending every moment at Grainger poring over notes the end-all-be-all of good students? Probably not. Sitting there studying non-stop all day isn’t as effective as studying when our minds and bodies are functioning at their best. Making sure we sleep well, take breaks to shower, dress nicely and keep our living areas clean are all things we can do to make sure our minds are clear enough to make our studying effective. It is crucial for health, personal hygiene and the happiness of all those who have to stand our stench that we still take care of ourselves while still taking care of our grades. 

So this semester, my life will go on during finals, as all students’ lives should.  No more eating excessive amounts of junk food, skipping showers or hearing comments like “Oh, Stephanie you look tired,” “What happened to the floor in your room?” or “God, what’s that smell?” I will make an effort to fit finals into my routine instead of erasing my routines completely. Maybe then I will successfully take control of finals instead of the other way around.  

Stephanie is a sophomore in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @syoussef22.