Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Surviving finals week: What you need to know

Raquel Miller

Posted on May 04, 2016 in Community
By USM Free Press

Raquel Miller

By Raquel Miller, Free Press Staff

The life of a college student is already busy and a constant balancing act between classes, work and one’s sanity.  Once finals are added into the mix at the end of the semester, the balancing act is taken to an entirely new level of chaos.  

The week before finals, which begin as early as Saturday May 7 for some students and continue until Friday May 13, USM’s Portland Event Board is hosting a variety of StressFree activities for students on the Portland campus.  Massages, cupcakes, therapy dogs and even an inflatable obstacle course are in the lineup in hopes of providing students with stress relieving events that they can access in between classes.

Campus libraries and computer labs fill with students throughout all hours of the day as they tap away at their laptops, writing one of the three essays due in a week.  Other students can be seen racing around, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a notebook in the other, as if there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. Undoubtedly, finals week can be one of the busiest weeks for some USM students.

Brittany Simpson is a junior English major, minoring in creative writing, and if everything goes according to plan, will graduate in the Fall of 2017.  Writing two papers ranging from 7-10 pages in length, taking one final exam and completing a full revision of her 17-23 page short story might seem like a lot to some–it totally is–but is part of why Simpson loves being an English major.  

“Being able to prepare for essays is easier for me than preparing for an exam.  I’m too anxious of a person and no matter how much I study, I’ve never been good at test-taking.”  

Unlike past semesters, the workload for Simpson during finals week is going to take a lot of effort on her part to complete, but luckily, her employer is flexible with her work hours, and she has planned ahead.  

“I check my syllabus for everything that needs to be done and put in order what things I should get done first. It’s hard if you have three papers to do and you try jumping between each. I try to focus on just one at a time.”

While some upperclassmen have had the ability to develop study habits that work for them, younger freshman, who are approaching their first set of college finals might need added support.  

During finals week, USM Health and Counseling Services does not offer specific programs for students, but opens its doors even wider for students who might need support.  Lisa Belanger, Director of Health at the Health and Counseling Services, offered a few tips for students as finals approach, not unlike what a parent might advise.  Making healthy choices for your body and mind is essential.  It is something most students know, but cramming the night before a big exam, more often than not, will end up negatively.  Belanger urged students to get enough sleep, hydrate and eat healthy foods that will fuel their bodies.

Many students will end up surviving off of any combination of coffee, energy drinks, and quick meals, but Belanger notes how important it is to “pace yourself and create a balance.”  

A large part of thriving in finals week is an organizational aspect, but Belanger adds that “finding moments to be present and appreciate what is going on right in front of you can help maintain a positive balance in a students life.  Finding a moment for mindfulness helps students slow down and decompress in whichever way works best for them.  Even small moments like noticing the flowers as they walk to class can be helpful.”

For Simpson, her cats are perfect for snuggling and also help calm her, but their cute purrs can also become distracting.  

“Living at home there are always so many distractions. I usually tend to have to leave my house and seek out somewhere else to do my work.”  

In case she needs to, Simpson can always head over to one of the campus libraries for their extended hours during finals week.  Both Glickman and Gorham Library and learning commons have extended their hours by at least an hour during finals week. The previously named “Late Night at Glickman” will be renamed to “Finals Festivities” and will provide students with free coffee and snacks to help students stay healthy and relaxed as they work.  

With finals week only a week away, remember to take advantage of USM’s resources for students whether it be a massage in Woodbury, or snacks at Glickman.   There is no denying the chaotic nature finals bring to students, but remembering to take a moment to slow down, and a moment for yourself, is key.  

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