Studying for Finals Efficiently and Effectively
College Life |  Source: blog.storage.com

Studying for Finals Efficiently and Effectively

That time of year that work hard, play hard becomes work hard, work harder.

Ah, it's the most wonderful time of the year. And unfortunately, it happens to coincide with finals.

While studying for finals is awful, it's a time to reflect how fortunate you are to have the higher education opportunities you have and it's also a time to stock the fuck up on all the free snacks.

Here is my best shot at tips to follow during this wonderful finals szn.

1. Go light on the coffee.
As the coffee fiend I am, it hurts to say this. However, I stand by my words. Yes, a cup here and a cup there with a couple hours in between won't hurt you.

However, I will warn you against taking two shots of espresso and following up with another two venti fresh brews. I am currently watching my roommate trying to study for her math final but she can't stop twitching because she drank too much coffee. You will be too wired for your own good and you'll probably have a terrible night of sleep, which leads to difficulty retaining the information you worked so hard to obtain.

Trust me, I'm not trying to take your coffee away from you, just try toning it down. You need a lot less than you think you do.

2. Sleep, sleep, and sleep some more.
Sleep as in light, deep and REM...not sleep as in with that guy down the hall. Getting a good night's rest is like that lunch date with a friendly acquaintance you've been meaning to do for months now: you say you'll make it happen but deep down you know it never will.

Well, it's finals time now so you actually need to get it done. Sleep is SO much more important than you realize.

When you get deep sleep, you are boosting your immune system amongst other wonderful benefits. You need to get through finals week without catching a cold, and you'd be surprised to find that the best way of avoiding one isn't by consuming copious amounts of Vitamin C.

Also, when you get REM sleep, you are replenishing your body's supply of chemicals like serotonin, which boosts your mood, and you are also consolidating memories. Without REM sleep, you're studying will be ineffective and those 200 paintings memorized for art history? Out the window because your mind won't be able to consolidate the memories from studying. My point is clear: GET SOME SLEEP.

3. Get 30 minutes of exercise.
Getting oxygen to your brain can work miracles. Even if for only 10 minutes, do something to get your heart pumping. Run around the main quad, do 100 jumping jacks, or do something or someone else (if you catch my drift).

Whatever you decide to do, you will see the difference when you come back to study more. Your concentration will be heightened and it will be so much easier to sit down, think clearly and use your time effectively.

4. Drink copious amounts (of water).
Maybe this is something my mom made up, but constantly drinking water while studying is a necessity for me.

Every time my mind would get foggy, I'd take a swig. Every time I got bored and started losing focus, I'd take a swig...with lemon. Every time I got sleepy and my eyes got tired, I'd take a swig...with ice! There are so many ways to refresh yourself with some good ole' H2O. I highly suggest.

5. Keep eating normally.
I am guilty of trespassing this commandment. When I get extremely stressed, my body freaks out and I don't get hungry nor do I think of food. On days I'm anxious about an assignment or test, I practically have to force feed myself otherwise I would go a full day without eating but a couple of pretzels. However, eating normal amounts of good food is such a necessity to study well.

You need brain food to function! Imagine trying to drive a car without gas...it just doesn't work (don't be the smart ass to say, oh what if it's electric). Also, most importantly, don't forget to have a good breakfast the day of your final. It will help so much--if not your grade then at least you had something yummy to eat that day.

6. Find your distraction free zone (which sometimes isn't the library).
Although all my friends adore studying every night in the library, I absolutely despise it. It's too cold, too big and way too social to actually get anything done.

Some libraries are better and quieter than others, but I find my distraction free zones to be my own room and coffee shops. I can tune everything out and tune in to my work. Explore to find a place on or off campus that helps you work as productively and efficiently as possible.

7. Work with a study buddy or two.
I think it never hurts to study with someone else. Whether it be that god awful linear algebra class or organic chem, working with a study buddy or study group can help alleviate the misery. They split the misery of studying for a difficult subject amongst a crowd, help you learn important things you might not have paid attention to if you were alone and provide you with someone to explain things clearly.

Imagine: instead of wasting time sitting in your room alone, agonizing over the problem you can't solve and the box of brownies you just scarfed down, you're quickly getting three problem sets done! Trust me, study groups are the way to go. Plus you can make new friends to hang out with after finals hell week is over. Cheers!

8. Take a deep breath.
Yeah, sounds stupid but sometimes all you need in life is to calm the fuck down and remind yourself that the world is not ending. You are taking a test.

You are privileged enough to have a shot at becoming a part of the 6.7 percent of the world population that has the opportunity to hold a college degree, so do everyone a favor and stop complaining about it. Take another deep breath, put things into perspective, then proceed studying and kicking ass.

9. Stay positive.
Although this piece of advice stems partly from my argument in #8, and is partly because I simply don't want to hear you complain, I truly believe in the power of staying positive. Pretty much everyone is in the exact same boat as you, so your complaining and pessimism is just wasting precious studying time!

I also believe that thinking positively about future outcomes for a final, or for anything for that matter, will bring good forces to you and your life. Studying and taking the exam will be so much easier if you stay positive: congratulate yourself for understanding something or solving a problem correctly, and work harder to understand things that are confusing instead of badgering yourself by saying that you will fail.

Go into the test with high spirits, a pleasant outlook and hope for the best. If you worked hard and studied as much as you could, that is the best you could do. Might as well have a good attitude about it than be that pessimist that brings down everyone's day, including your own.

10. Stop doing precisely what you're doing right now: procrastinating.
Now that you have all the tricks of the trade, get your ass off this article and go study. No further comment.

    Image Alt
    College Life |  Source: FlockU

    Slaying Spring Semester Finals

    I did not slay my spring semester finals, they slayed me with a concussion.

    During finals week of my sophomore year, I sustained a concussion. An alcohol and sex sustained concussion.

    It was the last Saturday before finals finished and I was planning on staying in to work. Two of my good friends had just finished their finals and were looking for someone to endorse their bad decisions. I was the one they pleaded with to come out.

    I'm a salesman's wet dream, easily convinced to do anything, and with even less convincing needed to get drunk and stoopid with friends. "Alright, but I'm not going to drink a lot or stay out too late." Said the girl who would drink a lot and stay out too late. Me. I was that girl.

    We pregamed with Moscato and Bacardi Dragon Berry (together), which tasted like very, very sweet juice and got us very, very drunk. As we made our way to a bar, I spotted a boy I had made out with a few weeks before. I knew I wanted more, and when I spotted him, the wine, Bacardi, and I unanimously decided this was the night I would get more.

    The boy, we'll call Steve, invited me back to his frat to smoke. On the way to the house, another boy, the one who sent me in a tizzy with his dirty talk, shot me a "wyd" message. Once I was done with Steve, I knew I was finding my way to the other boy, Jack.

    Once at the frat house, Steve realized he had no weed and no room (because he was a freshmen and didn't officially move in yet). So, we just continued drinking and hanging in a common area.

    After a little while, I was ready to see Jack. In modern day chivalrous form, Jack offered to pick me up at the frat house (even though he belonged to a different frat) and walk us back to my house.

    I told Steve I had to get home so I could wake up early to write essays. He walked me to the door for it to open up to Jack. I explained he was my friend's boyfriend who had offered to walk back with me. Yes, I'm an asshole.

    This is where the night gets blurry (partly because of the drinks and partly an effect of the concussion). From what I've gathered, he came back to my sorority house where we aggressively fucked on my XL twin bed. So aggressively, in fact, I repeatedly hit my head against a wall. Then, in round two, I had another big head hit against the wall. He slept over and I woke up with (what I thought was) a weird and powerful hangover.

    All day long, something was off. I couldn't focus, lights and my computer screen hurt my eyes, I was sensitive to sounds, and just really spacey. I tried to nap in the middle of the day, but all I could do was stare forward for two hours. That night, my roommate eventually said, "Dude, I think you have a concussion."

    I suddenly remembered the drunk head banging sex and realized she just might be right. An appointment at my health center the next day confirmed I was concussed, resulting in a medical excuse to delay the rest of my finals and final grades. And I also had to deal with packing up, driving home alone, and preparing for my internship's start the next week.

    I ended my semester and finals week with an awful bang (in bed and on my head); I did not slay my spring semester finals, they slayed me. Heed my warning, dear readers, and use these tips to actually slay your finals.

    Schedule in advance
    Figure out how much time you need to prepare and complete all of your finals. If you know you have something on a particular day, like meetings, concerts, or formals, compensate by scheduling more work at a different time. Try to steadily do work on all of your subjects each day, rather than jam packing one subject after another. If you jam-pack, you might not devote as much time as you'd like to every subject. This will also keep each day moving faster.

    Wake up early
    If you want to be able to relax at night or to max out your day, wake up early to start work. Additionally, rising early will allow you to get to the library at opening to claim a good spot.

    Don't go crazy before you're done
    Focus on work first. I'm not saying don't go out at all, but don't get wasteyfaced and end up concussed.

    Find time to say bye to everyone
    One of my least favorite parts of college is the end of each semester; it feels like there is no culminating endpoint. We all finish at different times and I often go without saying bye to friends. Carve out time during and after finals to bid farewell to your buds.

    Don't leave as soon as you're done
    You finally finished, don't run away! Take it easy, go to parties, get in some last fun with the graduating seniors. The later it gets, the rowdier it gets. Plus, you can take your time packing up all of your things, which will probably relieve a lot of stress.

    Image Alt
    College Life |  Source: ebeck22

    Four Things You Have To Do At College In The Spring

    Getting some Vitamin D will definitely help you not get a D on your final.

    1. Study outside

    Each day is warmer than the one before; and it is getting harder and harder to go to the library. With finals coming up, kill two birds with one stone and take your books outside. Grab a blanket, some friends, and lie out while studying for Bio 101. Getting some Vitamin D will definitely help you not get a D on your final. (It's science.)

    2. Darty

    Day parties are my absolute favorite part of the spring. Show off your new dress or romper and your hottest pair of sunglasses while sipping on some Twisted Tea. There is nothing better in the spring than doing some day drinking. If you are feeling extra spring-fevery, put together a BBQ with all your friends.

    3. Exercise

    You have no excuse to not exercise in the spring. If you hate the gym, spring is the perfect time to enjoy exercising outside. Go for a run, take a hike, do an ab workout on the lawn, play frisbee, go golfing, play tennis. The opportunities are endless.

    4. Tan

    Here's a crazy idea: Get out of the tanning beds and actually go outside. A natural glow will look amazing as you finish up school and head into summer. Instead of watching another episode of whatever Netflix show you're currently binging on, lie a towel out and soak up the sun. My friends and I especially love tanning on our roof to get just a little bit closer to the sun.

    Image Alt
    College Life |  Source: Sphotography

    5 Ways to Land That Short-Term Summer Job

    Work hard, play hard.

    For those of you going home for summer, or just looking for work for only the summer, it is incredibly difficult to get a job for only three months. This is because so many places don't want short term workers, they don't want to train you and then let you leave, they want people who will stay for the long run. So, I will tell you five ways on how to land a job only for the summer.

    1. Lie.
    Now... this isn't necessarily the best way, but often employers don't give a second glance to applications when you openly admit you will be working there for only a few months. Lie on the app... maybe lie in the interview, maybe just go with the next point.

    2. Highlight the advantages of hiring you.
    Yeah, you will only be there three months, but you have had previous barista, or restaurant, or office assistant experience, which means you'll catch on fast and won't need to be trained for multiple weeks.

    3. Pull your references, contact the people you know, name drop to the max.
    I got a summer job at Starbucks because I knew the manager. I got a second job that summer because I had friends who also worked at a restaurant. If you have people put in good words for you, it is more likely that you will get hired.

    4. Be persistent.
    Submit applications before summer starts (AKA RIGHT NOW) and schedule interviews and such soon, so at the start of summer you can go right into working full time. Also this will help you beat others who are also applying for summer jobs. Don't wait until mid-June to submit apps.

    5. Once you submit an application, either online or in person, make sure to go into the place and ask to talk to a manager.
    This is so that they can put a face to the application, and you can show your dedication to getting that job. Make sure to dress nice, be presentable, because they might even interview you on the spot. I once asked to turn in my paper app to the manager (rather than just the host at the restaurant) and he sat down and interviewed me on the spot. And I got the job. On the spot. And he knew I was only home for the summer. So do this. It really, really helps.

    Image Alt
    College Life |  Source: onamatopoeia.wordpress.com

    The 5 Stages of a Pre-Final Cram Session

    One of those glorious college nights where you start studying when everyone else is finishing up.

    You're not really sure why you took Anthropology. Your advisor lazily circled it in the culture credit section of your class sheet you received at your last appointment, and you just decided to roll with it. It was a joke class, anyway. You're also not sure of the last time you were actually in the class besides the midterms. Syllabus week, maybe? The only thing you are sure of is that your final is tomorrow, and you're just sitting down now to study for it. Here are the five stages you'll go through as your try to prepare.

    Stage 1: "This'll be so easy! I've got tons of time."

    Ah, yes. Famous last words.

    Source: giphy.com

    You sit down at your desk, prepared and almost eager to attack the subject you've completely put off until this point. It's only 8:30, that's so early! You remember all of this, all you're going to need is some light review and you'll remember everything. You've got it all planned: two hours reading the textbook, two hours reviewing the class slides, short break for a little Netflix, one hour doing the homework, and then crash for a bit. Wake up at 7 a.m. and finish reviewing. What a breeze.

    You crack the first page of the book, which leads you to...

    Stage 2: "Holy shit, were there always this many chapters?"

    As if someone just pimp-slapped you with a copy of Darwin's Origin of Species, it suddenly hits you that there was actual substance to this study of Anthropology. As if your life was flashing before your eyes, you remember the difficulty of studying for each midterm you underestimated.

    As the 150-plus pages of reading and countless vocab words loom over you, you turn and see your alarm clock with new light. 10 p.m. already?! What once seemed to show you had ages to study now made you feel like you were watching the clock from 24 as seconds loudly ticked away.

    Source: giphy.com

    Panicking, you reach for something you've saved just for moments like this, and find yourself suddenly in...

    Stage 3: Stimulant-Induced Brilliance

    Look, no one's going to make any assumptions about what you just put in your body. Let's just say it was a really good 5-Hour Energy. Either way, it's working. You're tearing through the pages, your confidence restored. You can't believe you were ever worried! You're going to know goddamn everything on this test at this rate.

    Source: Imgur.com

    You've finished the textbook, and now you're scrolling though the PowerPoint slides almost too fast to read. Too fast for anyone except you. Advanced terms whiz by, and you're confident you've got them memorized. Australopithecus? No way you forget how to spell that by tomorrow morning. Confident, you turn once again to your alarm clock. Here comes...

    Stage 4: Stimulant-Induced Crash

    Whoa... It's 4:30 in the morning? How did that happen? You turn back to your computer and suddenly it seems brighter than usual, making you squint. Out of nowhere, a headache hits you. It sinks in how tired you are. You tell yourself you've covered enough, and any leftover review can be finished in the morning.

    Maybe you'll move your alarm back a little though. You lie down in bed, and close your eyes. In what feels like a second, you open them up and hit...

    Stage 5: Exhausted Acceptance

    You turn and see the time. It's 10:30. The Exam is in about an hour. Slowly, you turn and sit up, placing your feet on the floor. You stare at the wall and sigh heavily, attempting to remember whatever it is you learned last night. A... u.... s... t... r... i? Shit. Nothing stuck.

    You trudge to class, glaring with evil resentment at the people who are obviously way too prepared sitting in front with four pencils and color-coded notes. That famous line that every student has said while admitting defeat crosses through your head: "Well... I'll just do really well on my other finals."

    You sit, exhausted, frustrated, and unprepared. You tell yourself you won't do this next semester. Probably.

    Source: tumblr.com

    Image Alt
    College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

    6 Simple Steps That'll Make Studying Easier

    Coulda used this last semester.

    So, now it's summer and you're either soaking up the sun or back in the classroom for summer semester. Whichever it is, there is never a bad time to help yourself study better. Whether you use it now or next semester, here are some tips to make you more effective.

    1. Speed it up.
    Whether it's a lecture, an audio book or some absurdly long video, increase the speed it's playing at and you'll immediately notice how much time you're saving. The human brain has the ability to listen (and understand) words up to 400 words per minute. Compare that to the average speaking rate of 125 WPM -- or 100 WPM if it's one of my professors -- and you could potentially finish listening to something in a third of the time. Who wouldn't want that?

    2. In one ear, not out the other.
    I wish I could go back in time and figure out this hack in high school -- it's that good. While you're doing the mundane little things in life like: cleaning your room, doing the dishes, running on the treadmill -- hell, even sleeping -- try turning on a recording of what you're supposed to be learning. Even if you aren't giving it your undivided attention you'll still pick up a lil something.

    3. Treat yourself.
    Determine what your largest tasks are -- anything from writing an essay to studying for an exam -- and then divide them into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance. If you have to write a 3,000 word paper, consider rewarding yourself after you've written the first 500 words, then the next, and the next.

    Make the reward something simple that you can do easily and quickly. It could be an episode of your favorite TV show -- you can never go wrong with Friends -- your favorite sweet treat or a small nap. Just don't forget about the thing you're "treating yourself" for.

    4. Chew-chew.
    According to a study conducted by St. Lawrence University, chewing gum while studying could potentially improve your score. The act of chewing gum helps you wake up and give you a burst of energy when you really need it -- and when do you need it more than at 3 a.m. in the library?

    Help yourself remember even more information by chewing the same gum while you study and while you're actually taking the test. Hubba Bubba here I come.

    5. Find your light.
    Have you ever noticed that in a class with no windows and harsh lighting you find it harder to concentrate? Well, it's no coincidence, it's science. When your body is introduced to harsh artificial lighting it becomes more stressed and it gets more difficult to focus.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you have too little lighting your body will be naturally tired and any information you put in your brain just won't stick. The best thing for you, your brain and your grades is to study someplace with loads of natural light. Trust me, it'll make a world of difference.

    6. Work it out.
    A good cardio workout is not only good for your heart and body, it's good for your brain too. When we exercise our bodies are flooded with serotonin and endorphins, natural chemicals that help you feel happy, energetic, and even focused.

    While that's happening, our brains are getting more oxygen, which helps improve things like memory and learning. Do you need another reason to get your butt to the gym?