The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and spring is hovering over many of us like a cloud of THC-imbued smoke. Oh, and daylight savings started on Sunday, resulting in a greater amount of sunlight we hard-working college students can’t enjoy quite yet. Unfortunately, many of us are doomed to spend the next two weeks in isolation, bent down between the wooden dividers of the library’s cubicles, trying to control the twitching caused by an excessive ingestion of either too-blue doses of Adderall or one too many Venti Starbucks drinks.
Instead of getting to know the 70-degree weather outside, we’ll be bundled in ratty sweatshirts, trying to stave off the Davidson Library cold while convincing ourselves ONE MORE Facebook status update won’t detract from our finals week pretense of erudite behavior. Some of us will spend the next couple weeks wishing we’d attended class like we were supposed to, or lamenting the wasted class session dedicated solely to struggling through Thursday’s level 3 Sudoku. No worries – you took diligent notes all quarter, right? No? Not so much?
Look, even if you’re planning on failing the final, make sure you know when and where you’ll be doing so. A couple friends have slept through, forgotten about or mis-scheduled their finals, resulting in a visit from the academic probation fairy. Who, as a few have found, doesn’t leave shiny quarters under your pillow, but a heaping, transcript-staining pile of bureaucratic bullshit. Check your final times on GOLD, kids. Seriously, it’s the easiest way NOT to fail a class.
If you are one of those elusive studiers, then make sure to cram in short bursts. The Law of Diminishing Returns determined that studying for more than something like four hours at a time is ultimately not as effective when it comes to retention. Study for an hour, then get up and stretch. Take a walk around your chosen study floor. Do jumping jacks. Chain-smoke those cigarettes, as you’re prone to do anyway. Peruse the library’s new arrivals. Re-read my column. Indulge in the Associated Students-sponsored “Bring Your Own Cup!” campaign, which provides free coffee from 6 p.m. to midnight all through Dead Week. Last quarter, the Student Resource Building was kind enough to offer free coffee, tea and hot chocolate, as well as small snacks in the form of fruit cups, crackers and oatmeal. Take advantage and fuel up on free food. It always tastes better than the stuff you pay for anyway.
Keep your study time narrow and focused, which means avoiding all diversions – A.I.M., Facebook, RSS feeds, e-mail etc. Turn your wireless adaptor or Airport off to prevent techie distractions. If you don’t actually need your computer, why not just leave it at home? Sitting in front of a laptop needlessly is a quick, efficient waste of your time.
Prioritize. Study for the final that is approaching fastest. Get enough sleep. Some of you can function on four hours of sleep – most of you can’t. Forego the last-minute, night-before cramming in favor of a few hours of re-energizing shut-eye.
Exercise! Twenty minutes on the treadmill will keep you more alert than any amount of Dexatrim. Resist the urge to party on those “off” days. Just because you finished your first final doesn’t mean you should invest in a fifth of Bacardi 151. The time you spend recovering from those rum hangovers will detract from efficient, clear-headed study time. Stay focused all the way through both Dead and finals week. Celebrate completing ALL of your finals – not just a third of them.
Once you’ve filled in the last guessed C on your Scantron, THEN engage in stupid behavior like “Reader Ball” – a game involving a roof, a baseball bat and a quarter’s worth of readers. Not till you’ve handed in that bluebook do you get to throw out your caffeine pills in lieu of something a bit… hazier. Don’t think, however, finishing finals means it’s time to burn furniture. Keep your dirty furniture off the streets – anyway, won’t you need something to sit or sleep on once you get back from your Spring Break in Cancun?
Work hard, kids. If anxiety overtakes, just remember: Spring Break is almost here and finals are not only fleeting, but will be wholly irrelevant four years from now.