My top 5 pieces of advice for surviving finals (in no real order). And, also I didn’t follow some of my own advice…but I will learn from my mistakes next semester!
5. Sleep/Rest. Finals are a busy and crazy time. Don’t forgo sleep or rest at the sake of writing a paper! With a clear head that’s had some rest, you’ll be in a better spot to think clearly and more coherent. You don’t want to accidentally have an off-topic sentence about bagel hockey in your paper about adolescent literacy.
4. Work at the time you’re at your best. I’m a morning person–I do my best thinking and writing in the morning. I had a couple of times during finals, however, where I ended up working in the late evening. When I woke up the next morning, I looked over my work…and, well, see the above statement about bagel hockey. As I looked over my work the next morning, I realized how silly so many things I’d written the night before sounded, and I ended up doing some heavy revision that could have been avoided if I’d arranged to do my work in the morning when I’m at my best.
3. Treat yourself to something (or things) you enjoy. You must take breaks and have a little fun along the way. Getting away from the work actually would help me revise and look over my papers when I reread them after a little break. Netflix, a glass of wine, Taylor Swift’s 1989, soft cheese (Okay, so those are all things I personally enjoy. Insert whatever makes you happy.)
4. The Starbucks App makes for very easy caffeine refills. And you’re going to need caffeine.
5. Plan ahead. Make a to-do list of all the things you need to do–not just this paper and that paper. But the components themselves, e.g., research and take notes on the Class X topic, outline for Class X paper, draft paper, revise paper, insert references. Try to plan a mix of different things to work on each day, making sure to start each assignment as far in advance as possible.
Joshua Jenkins is an Master’s of Education candidate in the Language and Literacy strand, pursuing licensure as a reading specialist. Josh was a special educator and reading interventionist in New Orleans and is interested in the research on reading disabilities and what all grown-ups can do to help bolster reading development for all children.