Tips for Finishing the Semester Strong

As the fall semester at Marshall University and other institutions come to a close and exams begin, it’s time to make the last few weeks count. Undergrad and graduate students alike can be stressed and face more academic challenges during this last-minute push. Read on for advice from Marshall University President Brad D. Smith on finishing the semester on a high note.

Setting good habits for success

Setting healthy boundaries and practicing good habits can help students be successful beyond their education. The following tips focus on time management, organization and personal well-being, which are all necessary habits to carry on through one’s life and career, long after you’ve graduated from your alma mater. 

Stay organized with a schedule

As the end of the semester approaches, so comes the final push for assignments, projects and exam prep. With so many things happening across various classes, not to mention any extracurricular commitments, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Creating a schedule is one way to better manage assignments and studying and can help ensure nothing is overlooked during this busy time. Prioritize assignments, work, studying and any other activities you have. 

Don’t skip self-care

Taking care of both your physical and mental health and well-being during these last few weeks is just as important as studying. Getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising can impact your work for the better. Your brain and body need rest to retain information and be alert and focused for each day of studying. 

Utilize campus resources

Nearly every university campus has resources available for students. From tutoring and professional development to mental health services, take time to get familiar with available resources to help you navigate whatever challenges may arise. Some universities also have centers to support students in their careers. For example, Marshall University’s Brad D. Smith Student Incubator provides student entrepreneurs with resources to assist their budding businesses.

Focus on effective studying 

There’s quite a difference between studying and effective studying. Before you spend hours in the library, try to work on improving your studying technique. Many students use the Pomodoro Technique in which studying and break times are broken down into segments. Ideally, following this method means that every 25 minutes of studying or work is followed by a two- to five-minute break. This method not only helps you keep track of your progress, but also helps you get the most out of your time.

Limit time on social media

Social media can be a huge distraction to one’s schoolwork. It’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole browsing through social media, which can quickly affect any time allotted for studying or schoolwork. Try to set timers or utilize productivity apps to help avoid these distractions.

Set flexible goals

Setting goals is a great way to track any achievements. However, being flexible with these goals is equally important so as not to induce stress or anxious feelings. Creating goals that are smaller and more attainable also helps remind you of the progress you are making towards bigger goals.  

Find a comfortable study space

Exam week often means that study spaces fill up quickly. While there is no way to get around a crowded library, a way you can prepare ahead of time is to look for multiple quiet, calm places to study before exams begin. That way if you do run into space issues, you have other options ready. 

Reward yourself for your hard work

Reflect and celebrate your hard work and the progress you’ve made over the semester. The time you spend in class and working on assignments adds up fast and is similar to maintaining a job. Rewarding yourself by taking time to destress through exercising, watching a movie, or other activities helps you mentally reset and recognize what you’ve accomplished. 

Making the most out of your education

The time you spend at university should be more meaningful than stressful. Through establishing effective practices and instilling good habits early on, students set themselves up for success not just at university but in life beyond their education.