Surviving The Last Month of the Semester

Hey there Sycamores! Elinor here, with a few helpful tips about surviving the last few weeks of campus. With finals less than a month away (freaking out by the way), it’s the time of year for all-nighters, group project nightmares, and To-Do lists the size of Russia.

I’m now in my 5th year at ISU and I still stress out during this time of the year. There are so many things going on that things seem to pile up faster than they can get done. But with some help of this handy info-graphic, I want to give you some tips about surviving the last part of this semester:


  1. To-Do Lists: This is an essential for me. I’ve gotten to the point where if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get done. To-Do Lists are a great way of keeping track of everything you need to get done. It makes things seem a lot more manageable and crossing of a point on the list is so satisfying.
  2. Coffee/Tea: They recommend Chai tea here, but for me Coffee is the way to go. However you like your coffee or tea, some caffeine is needed to get through those all-nighters and the classes that follow.
  3. Supplies: Taking notes in class is great…until you look over them later and realize you have no idea what the one words mean that you took down in half a second as your professor was talking. Think about re-writing your notes; studies have shown that the more you write things out, the more likely they’ll stick in your brain. Flashcards are awesome too. Especially if you’re going to be quizzed over dates, names, or important terms. Although they take a while to make, they really do help in the long run. It makes things easier to just skim over them and figure out what you know and need to know. Colored pens and highlighters are always fun too. I have one colored pen for every class, that way I know which class needs the most work. Consider highlighting your books. Even if they’re rental books, check to see if you can highlight them. It’s a good way to pick out the most important stuff.
  4. Music: I love music. I can’t get anything done though if I’m listening to the latest Pentatonix album. Catchy music with lyrics that you want to sing-a-long to will distract you from studying. Consider classical music, or piano covers of your favorite songs. Studies have shown that Classical Music helps people study more. And let’s be honest, studying seems a lot more fun when you’re doing it to Star Wars soundtracks. Hey, even Jedi’s have to study.
  5. Life Savers: Here they list pain medicine and water. Both of these are important. After studying for so long, your brain will start to hurt and those pain relievers will help in a pinch. But you need to stay hydrated, especially if you’re relying on coffee or soda to stay awake. The more water you drink, the better you’ll feel. And it might just clear up that headache better than the pain relievers.
  6. Snacks: Although that quesadilla from Cup and Chaucer sounds amazing right around 11PM, try bringing healthy snacks with you. Granola bars are a great hunger reliever and some, like Cliff Bars, can be very healthy for you. Nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, or cashews are great brain food. They are also full of protein so they’ll fill you up in a jiffy. Speaking of Jiffy, grab a tiny container of peanut butter and bring some fruit to dip in it; healthy and tasty!
  7. Extra Tips:
    • Although studying alone can often let you study harder and faster, you can also get distracted very easily. That Facebook message or game notification can cause a half-an-hour delay because you aren’t holding yourself accountable. Studying with friends is great; you can take breaks when you need a breather (studies say every 20 minutes of studying needs to be followed with a five minute break) and chat about stuff and you can quiz one another.
    • Think about stepping outside. I know the library is super warm this time of year, but think about throwing your coat on and taking a lap around the building. Or if you’re on the top floor, take a walk down to the bottom floor and back up. Just getting a change of scenery is a good way to rest your mind.
    • Fall Break is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, but coming back into Study Week after a week off is so difficult. As much as no one likes to study during their week off, consider just taking a half-an-hour to an hour a day studying. You can break the time up throughout the day or just do it all at once. You will thank yourself when you come back.

Try not to lose your mind to much over these next few weeks. We’re almost there Sycamores!!!

-Elinor Balensuela is in her 5th year at Indiana State, majoring in English with three minors in Creative Writing, Communication PR, and International Studies. She studied abroad in England in 2013 and took a faculty-led trip to China in 2015. She is in her 3rd year of work at the Study Abroad Office.


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