Back to School
5 Tips for Finishing Strong This Semester
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | March 25, 2018
Midterms and spring break are in the rearview mirror: You’re in the home stretch! As summer comes closer, it’s easy to stop caring about grades, or—if good grades are an absolute must—to feel tremendous pressure to perform. The overwhelm of finishing classes, saying “goodbye for now” to friends (if you’re in college) and keeping momentum in your academics is real. Here are five tips to help you finish the semester strong.
1. Get enough sleep.
You’re probably rolling your eyes as you read this, but it’s true! A good amount of sleep is essential to reading comprehension and retention. If you want to do well on that test, an all-nighter actually isn’t the best choice. It would be better to go to bed and get eight hours’ sleep!
This isn’t always possible, but do it as much as you can. That might mean you have to say no to some social events during the week, but if it helps you accomplish your goals, that’s a small sacrifice! You can also try designating certain nights of the week for study (with an end time) and certain nights for hanging out with friends.
2. Start your final projects as early as possible.
Something that helped me a lot in college was breaking down my big, final projects into small to-do’s. Then I’d scatter these smaller tasks into my planner a few weeks ahead of the final due date. For example, I’d be working on my final paper four weeks before the due date, compiling my book list the same week, and by the week it was due, I’d be putting on the finishing touches.
This removes a lot of stress from your last weeks of school when you’re trying to wrap up several classes simultaneously.
3. Surround yourself with positive community.
This is a time to surround yourself with people who care about you and encourage you to do your best. Don’t hang out with the Debbie Downers! Choose people who are motivated and help you finish strong. If you can’t avoid the people who drag you down, try to set boundaries and expectations that tell them clearly what your priorities are. If your roommate continually lounges around your desk to talk about boys when you’re trying to do homework (the kind that HAS to get to done), try kindly explaining that you are taking Monday nights to concentrate on work—and can’t talk. Then choose a different night for catching up.
Another important part of community is discipleship. Be sure you’re plugged into a church that encourages and equips you. A small group would be great as well—someplace you can gather with fellow believers who help you grow spiritually.
4. Take notes in class.
Maybe you already do this, but if not, you should start. And ideally, handwrite them—people who handwrite notes retain the concepts better because the action of writing connects the information more effectively to the brain!
5. Give yourself grace.
Lastly, give yourself grace—just as God has given you grace. You might not get the perfect A on that test. You might work SO hard and still fail to meet your own expectations. You might not land the internship you wanted. But God sees, and He is still present, even in things that seem “unspiritual.” You can bring your stress and worries to Him. Start by bringing them to Him now, right in the middle of it, and watch how He can carry you through.