hi, hi, hello.
Every semester, my inner procrastinator never fails to impress me. It's as if it is in a competition to see how close to the deadline I can reach before a light of panic/fire/doom fires under my butt to get me started on what I knew was coming months ahead. I think it's because, secretly, we LOVE the drama of feeling stressed, complaining about it, and throwing a pity party. I whole-heartedly know that I live for this seasonal drama to spice up my regimented life.
(legendary article by waitbutwhy, worth half an hour of procrastination to read)
So, even though I admittedly kind of enjoy the drama, I found some ways to remediate at least some of the effects of finals season:
1. Set very small, super achievable goals EVERY SINGLE DAY of the semester.
We all know that story of the turtle that wins against the rabbit, right? Yeah, your life goal as a student is to be like that turtle. Love that turtle. Observe the turtle. BE THE TURTLE. Got me? Every single day, make goals such as reading one lecture from each class or doing 5 problem questions. Very small goals that you would honestly be disappointed in yourself if you didn't do them. Your future self will praise the ground you tread for doing this.
2. Avoid factors that you know will increase procrastination.
Okay for me, these are: pantry full of snacks, comfy bed, wifi with no supervision. This applies more for when you're in real study mode and time is scarce. By identifying what the problem is, you're more than halfway there. The only other step is to physically remove yourself from it.
3. Print and write your notes on real paper, which is a thing by the way.
During my first year of university, I used to create these immaculate outlines on my laptop, with tabs, subtabs, colons, the whole nines. I would spend so much time making the actual outline that I would run out of time to actually start studying the material, letting it sink in. So this year, I switched to printing out my slides (which kinda kills me inside seeing how much paper I use) and write my notes DIRECTLY on the slides DURING the lecture. Trust, this has made me understand the material exponentially faster and since I'm not busy typing on my laptop during class, I can actually think of questions as the professor is talking through the lecture.
4. Take real breaks, not on your phone.
Taking quality breaks is key to keep a certain level of sanity during exams. Note when I say quality. Quality breaks include: going to lunch/coffee with a friend, going for a walk outside, going to the gym, power naps. Anything that gets your blood pumping through the body and mind off school. I used to take "phone breaks" where I'm basically sitting in the quiet study area with my books open, scrolling through the discover feed on instagram before I notice that an hour passed. And then I end up feeling guilty, starting a counter productive cycle of half-hearted studying.
Remember that you're not a machine, you need to eat good food and stay active for your brain to feel happy and healthy to retain a semester's worth of knowledge.
5. Re-visit why you are even studying, the big picture goal.
We're all so busy doing this, that, and the other that it's easy to forget WHY we're doing it in the first place. Why are you even in university? Why are you studying? What is it all for? Think about it, you worked hard all your life to get into a good school, and now you're paying good money to learn stuff that will hopefully help you become the adult you want to be. At its most basic level, that's why we go to school, right?
Re-visit the reason why you want to graduate, think of how what you're learning today is going to pay off in the future. Even if you won't literally use the material (which is 90% of what we learn, does anyone ever ask for a SWOT analysis in real life...I didn't think so), the ability to expand your brain's capacity is a gift to be thankful for. How amazing is it that you can just sit in a comfortably air conditioned room, read, and the next moment, you know something you didn't know before.
I'm not pressuring anyone to know what exactly it is you want to do with your life. I certainly don't know. But having a general vision of the person you want to become and knowing that acquiring more knowledge is a step towards achieving that vision is a source of intrinsic motivation that no one can take away from you, no matter the external circumstances.
Those are my five tips, tried&true from personal experience.
Huge thank you to wework for this post's #workspacegoals. I got to check out the space at the location in front of the Bell Center, and they also have a location in Place Ville Marie.
p.s. pain is temporary, GPA is forever
headphones from Sudio Sweden
clear frame glasses from Zenni Optical