The season is drawing nearer, and it’s been difficult to conjure up any motivation. You’re already jaded toward assignments, quizzes and tests, but now you have to tackle a whole ‘nother beast, finals season. Sometimes fear of failure can prevent us from studying, which leads to procrastination in other areas of our lives. Eventually you’ve postponed laundry day, dishes and grocery shopping for the sake of deferring studies. The following tips won’t completely dispel the anxiety, but they will help you dive into your studies. With that said, here are ten ways to stop procrastinating during finals season.
1. Go To The Library
As much as this is said, I don’t think it’s said enough: go to the library! Something about the library keeps you from becoming entranced by your phone. For me at least, mindlessly gawking at a phone feels lazier when I’m surrounded by industrious students. If you have a slight inferiority complex like myself, you’ll feel even more worthless when you’re among people who are more capable as well as more studious than you. When the tank is almost empty, the intense drive of the regulars motivates you to reach higher.
2. Switch Majors
No matter the major, the motivation to study is difficult at times. But if you’re constantly dreading your studies, you could have the wrong major. In order for our dopamine to kick in, we need to have a sufficient incentive to study. If we’re bereft of any desire or incentive to study, we should reevaluate our college careers. At one point, I had to switch from a major in journalism to a major in English. As a JMC major, I felt like I was devoting much of my time to analysis and not enough of my time to information. It’s important to have a balance between analysis and information. Information is the initial stage; analysis follows.
3. Know Your Incentive Beyond The Grade
If nothing else, you should know your motivation beyond the grade. Why are you going to school? What originally interested you in your major? Why is it your passion? These seem like obvious questions, but it’s not always easy to provide the answers. If the incentive involves a pay check or a grade, you may consider switching majors. Grades only benefit to a certain extent, and a superfluity of cash and items is often a way to fill voids. But you’ll invariably find that your life is just as empty.
4. Create A Song
One way to maintain interest is to create a song out of your notes. Creating a song not only gives order to a seemingly arbitrary list, it’s also fun and challenging. Research shows that we’re much more likely to remember information when it has a melody. So the benefits are twofold.
5. Study In Intervals
Don’t cram right before finals. Studying for a few hours with breaks in between is much more advisable. Studies have shown that we store memories during sleep. We’re not wired to retain an influx of information in one day. Rather, we’re much better suited for short study sessions weeks in advance. Plus, a brutal, 24 hour study session will deter you from ever wanting to study again. An hour long study session is much more forgiving. Studying for hours right before the exam will lead to a quick burn out. You want to have plenty left in the tank before the exam.
6. Soft Study Music
Music can add life to a bland study session. I would advise listening to soft, slow music, as loud, fast-paced music is more distracting than it is beneficial. Listening to Mozart specifically has been shown to slightly improve cognitive performance. Plus, it actually increases focus. Some may find classical to be a bland though, and if that’s the case, I would recommend some Cline Deon. Some of my most productive study sessions have been to the tune of “My Heart Will Go On.”
7. Create A List
Studies show that goals are much more likely to come to fruition when we write them down. Create a detailed list of what you want to studying during finals season. You may be able to readily know what you need to do, but it helps to outline your study session. An hour can be set aside for studying history; the next hour can be for your nutrition course and so on and so forth. The best study sessions are planned and deliberate. That way you’re not spending an inordinate amount of time transitioning from one subject to the other.
Though they are needed for success in many fields, high grades and long study sessions aren’t of the greatest importance. Anxiety will only deter you from studying. Realize that mental health is crucial to academic success. During your studies, you want to be able to focus your mind on the task at hand. Meditation is a way to squash all the trivialities hovering over your head and focus on your academic success. Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation can help to focus your crazy, unfettered mind.
9. Gain Perspective
Similarly, when you gain perspective as an adult, you realize that college is an incipient stage towards a career. In other words, it’s just an investment. Additionally, acquiring valuable knowledge is much more important than strict memorization. Some degrees call for retaining hoards of information without always necessitating analysis. With the wrong professor, history is an example. Just remember that your studies are too immaterial in the scheme of things to sweat. Sometimes the most valuable knowledge is learned through analysis outside of class.
10. Just Start Studying
Don’t dread it for hours upon hours. Just start studying. You’ll find that it isn’t near as dreadful and exhausting as you anticipated. The first step is always the hardest. Once you sink your teeth into your studies, you’ll forget about all the apprehension that preceded. Although it sounds contradictory, some study sessions require very little thought. Just absorb the knowledge and synthesize it later.