While people all over the U.S. just had Thanksgiving, students may have been looking forward to it the most. The Monday before break I was in the communal bathroom in my dorm, getting ready for my 8 a.m. class when the girl I always make small talk with in the morning looked me dead in the eye and said, “Just one more week.” And once we got to that blissful, long awaited break students wanted to stay there. After all we know what follows in the next couple weeks now that we’re back… Finals! So, what’s the best way to effectively study for college finals?
Some of my favorite habits include taking notes on paper. According to a study by Professors at Princeton and University of California, Los Angeles taking notes on paper helps you learn better than taking notes on a computer. I also like using online study programs like Quizlet and Study Blue to review concepts and vocabulary. Of course, getting enough sleep is very important too, (I am the kind of person who doesn’t function without about 8 hours of sleep) so during finals I go into a kind of hibernation mode where I am practically only awake long enough to eat and study. This, in itself, is problematic, because it’s important to remember to take care of your mental health during finals but there it is.
All that said, preparing for finals goes beyond simply memorizing what you think is going to be on the test and remembering to sleep. There’s also a lot of self care involved in order to keep yourself going during the week. College students will be happy to tell you that finals are the most stressful time of the year, and there are literally 100s of ways to relax. A few I like are remembering to take time to be social, petting animals (which releases bonding and calming hormones in mammals according to the University of Missouri-Columbia) and getting to a change of scenery by checking out a new place.
This year college students in Bloomington have a new finals-self-care option: WonderLab’s after hours Study Break. That’s where I’ll be. Thanksgiving Break was an important time for rest and recuperation, but now students are back at school the workload will be heavy. As finals approach it is important to keep good study habits in mind, and a big part of that is dealing with stress. So remember to study for your test, but don’t forget to take time to care for yourself.
Abby Bainbridge is studying Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations, as a member IU’s class of 2021. She is a writing and content intern in the marketing department at WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology. Utilizing a careful plan of self-care, studying and breaks, she intends to make it through her first year of college finals. She will.
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