Carly Boens (TheLorian)
As the semester progresses, it can become more difficult to maintain focus and motivation regarding school. Long-term papers and projects seem to pile up after midterms through the rest of the semester, making the amount of coursework difficult to juggle. In addition, content from classes usually becomes more complicated as the semester advances, requiring more time and effort to learn. These factors can make the second half of the semester extremely difficult, but there are ways to manage these struggles.
One of the best ways to stay on top of classes as finals approach is to review course content throughout the semester. Distributed studying, or spreading out reviewing over long periods, is known to be one of the most effective study methods. Rereading important sections of your textbook, notes, class PowerPoints, or other materials ensures that when it comes time to take an exam, there will already be a level of familiarity with the content. Not only does reviewing throughout the semester help keep information fresh, but it will also help reveal any weak points or struggles with topics learned throughout the class. Being aware of difficulties early will lessen the crunch time of trying to learn class material right before finals.
Another way to make the latter half of the semester less overwhelming is to break large projects up into small, manageable tasks. Rather than sitting down and writing a long paper all at once, it can be beneficial to start early work on it over time. Start by deciding on the topic, for example. Then advance to finding sources, collecting information, and outlining. By completing these small steps, the actual act of writing the paper will become much less overwhelming. Similarly, projects that extend throughout the majority of the semester are best done the way they’re meant to be: during the entirety of the semester. By working on them regularly and at similar intervals, the process will become less all-consuming and rushed at the end of the semester.
Lastly, as finals approach, one of the best ways to study is to do so actively. For most people, reading alone isn’t enough to learn and remember content. Active studying helps engage the material in new ways that make it easier to remember in the long run. Self-quizzing is a helpful method to study. By asking oneself to remember what was learned, one confirms that they understand what is being studied. Flashcards are a common way to do this. Additionally, teaching someone else difficult concepts can be a great way to solidify them while also revealing any weak points that need more review.
Overall, with healthy study and homework habits, an overwhelming semester can become at least a little more manageable. It’s never too late to engage in new study habits or to let go of old ones that are no longer beneficial. Developing a personalized study plan will make one’s role as a student much easier and lead to feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction at the end of a long semester. Staying focused can be difficult, but taking care of oneself while also consistently and methodically working towards academic goals can help maintain motivation.