EDUCATION

How to survive finals week: Ole Miss edition

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Molly Randles
The Oxford Eagle

Finals week – A dreaded week for college students at The University of Mississippi. It can be an especially stressful time for students and professors, alike.

As students scramble and try their best not to pull out their hair, the reality is, students often give up on health habits during what they like to call “crunch time.”

There are many things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming too stressed during finals week. So before you participate in the chaos of last minute cramming, sleepless nights in the J.D. Williams Library, and start to see all of your Flex money in the form of empty Starbucks cups piled around you, read these few tips from fellow Ole Miss students and professors on how to survive finals week.

College is hard. It’s not wrong to admit that, but take a breath. Sometimes stress can be a good thing.

We hear over and over that stress is unhealthy. And all that talk makes us, well, stressed. But getting worked up isn’t always a bad thing, said Dr. Richard Shelton, vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham; “after all, the body’s fight-or-flight response is meant to be protective, not harmful.”

This week won’t actually be the death of you, but remember to study, because it could be the death of your GPA.

Many professors and students at Ole Miss believe that being ahead of the game, and avoiding procrastination is the most important thing to remember when it comes to surviving finals week.

David Rutherford, executive director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance and a professor at the University of Mississippi, urges students to refrain from procrastinating during the semester.

“Get started early on term papers and other assignments that are due during finals week, so as to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done during that week – which concomitantly will reduce the amount of stress.”

Molly Maclin, 20, a UM accounting major, said she avoids procrastinating by creating a study and rest schedule.

“I don’t believe it is healthy or reliable to binge study,” she said, “so it is important to have a study schedule with rest factored in.”

She usually studies a few chapters or works on a couple of chapter problems with small breaks between them.

Maclin said this helps prevent procrastination because, “It takes my mind off of the work for a bit and keeps me fresh and alert.”

When it comes to being fresh and at the top of your finals game, it is important to remember to eat right. Students often turn to less healthy options during finals week.

Students need to remember that junk foods give you instant energy, but that will eventually end in a sugar crash. Taking time to eat right will energize you and increase concentration.

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Exercise is also important, but if you don’t usually exercise, you might find muscle relaxation techniques beneficial.

Sleep is at the top of some Ole Miss students’ list.

Marissa Rodriguez, 21, a political science major at the University of Mississippi reminds students: “You might fail a test if you do not study, but you will fail if you’re too tired to think straight.”

Professors tell students all semester long to stay on top of their work and avoid cramming during finals.

“Finals week doesn’t mean “surviving” if a student keeps up with their work during the entire 15 weeks,” said Kelly McBride, a professor at the University of Mississippi. “Reading the assigned texts, taking good handwritten notes, completing assignments on time, and taking an hour every now and then to review the class notes from the beginning will prevent you from cramming.”

Rutherford said don’t procrastinate.

“The learning science research is clear that studying in small amounts over a longer time period is far more effective for remembering and processing information than ‘binging’ and trying to ‘cram’ it in at the last minute,” she said.

The Croft Instructional Assistant Professor of Economics and International Studies, David Frogoso Gonzalez, gives two approaches to finals week. The first is a balance between study and life, and the second is an approach to finals material.

“Keep up with the material during the semester, so that you don’t have to cram during finals week,” Gonzalez said, “and try to maintain healthy habits – sleep normal hours, eat well and on time, and find some time to relax, (work out, walk, anything with fresh air) especially if that’s something that you’re used to doing.”

Gonzalez said the best way to approach material is to “focus on understanding the concepts, and on being able to apply them, rather than on memorizing. If you truly understand the concepts, you will be able to apply them to any circumstance. Memorization will only do you good if you get similar questions.”

After it’s all said and done, and you’ve aced all of your finals, remember to reward yourself. You made it, and now its time to prepare for next semester.

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