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Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re almost done. It’s been 15 weeks. 15 weeks of homework and hanging out, classes and kicking back, exams and extracurriculars. Now we just have a few weeks of finals and study days, and the summer begins. But we’re not done yet!!

Before I get to summer and can unwind, decompress, and enjoy some time out in the sun, there’s some unfinished business to take care of between me and my final exams. Though we’re still a few weeks out, classes are winding down, so I’ve been finishing up final projects and homework assignments to tie up the end of the semester. Most of these have been reasonable and not too bad, but others were pretty hairy – don’t even get me started on my final project for Separation Processes, where I wrote several hundred lines of code to simulate a fully functioning distillation column.

Yeah, this project was a bit tricky. But hey, it’s real engineering!

Aside from projects, the sheer task of reviewing an entire semester’s worth of material for all of my classes can easily get overwhelming, but fret not. I’m here with my 5 tips on how to manage finals season.

  1. Set a good study environment

Your study environment is more than just where you happen to be doing your reviewing; it’s the whole atmosphere in which you get work done. Some people need absolute silence, so find a nice space in a library. Others prefer to have some ambient noise in the background, so a park or somewhere outside can be a nice way to get a change of scenery while still getting work done. Whatever the case, make sure you find a nice spot and set yourself up from success. I like to turn off my phone (yes, I know it’s tough), make sure I have all my books and supplies, and set up shop somewhere where I can avoid distractions, and just focus on what needs to be done.

  1. Don’t overstress

Sure, a little bit of stress is natural, and probably inevitable. But there’s a difference between this and obsessing about your exams. If you put in the work necessary to succeed and take the appropriate steps to prepare, odds are you’ll be fine. So every once in awhile when it all seems like too much, remember to calm down, take a breather, and clear your mind. You’ll feel refreshed, and can go longer without exhausting yourself.

Food, or homework – why not both?

  1. Take care of yourself

The thing about sleep is that, well, you need it. Regardless of how busy you are, or how many exams you have coming up, your body still needs food, water, and rest. I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to take care of themselves if they’re cramming for exams. Remember to eat, sleep, and be merry, and your body will thank you.

  1. Take breaks

I don’t know about you guys, but my brain can only handle so much. Every so often it becomes saturated, and I need to close the book and do something else. The trick is to optimize these breaks so you don’t end up wasting too much time. Maybe stand up and take a brief walk around to stretch your legs, or multitask by getting food while taking a break. Whatever it is, I recommend making sure your breaks are well-timed and well-utilized, because while it’s healthy to take a breather, you can also end up wasting more time than you originally had planned.

  1. Be confident in yourself

If you’ve taken the time to read this and gotten this far, you obviously care about your academic success, and are willing to put in the work necessary to succeed on your finals and in your classes overall. So don’t doubt if you prepped enough, don’t second-guess your abilities. Hold your head up high, because you know you can handle whatever test is thrown your way.

Well everyone, that’s all from me regarding advice for finals. Everything in here is my opinion, and these are only suggestions. If you have your own study strategy already worked out, feel free to use as much or as little of my advice as you’d like. Remember, you’ve made it this far! Stick with it for a few more weeks, because summer is right around the corner.

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Jacob Toney

Jacob Toney

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN:Oceanside, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his