Finals start this week and – thanks to COVID-19 – it’s more difficult than ever to concentrate. Since you can’t head to Morris Library for an all-night study session or curl up with your caffeine fix at Brew HaHa!, here’s how you can focus on finals while stuck at home.
1. Get organized
Whether it’s setting reminders in your phone calendar or creating a handwritten to-do list, find a way to organize yourself. Set designated times for studying each day and stick to it. Take note of all exam times and due dates for assignments and prioritize tasks based on your schedule. It’ll be much easier to study for that one-hour ProctorU exam on Thursday once you complete the 10-page paper due on Tuesday.
2. Form a virtual study group
We know you’re probably physically ill at the thought of yet ANOTHER Zoom call, but a virtual check-in with classmates can help hold you accountable for studying and share some insight on confusing concepts. Reach out to a few friends and find a time that works for everyone. Maybe they can help you answer some questions, or you can offer your own expertise when you feel secure about a subject. If there’s something that the whole group doesn’t understand, take that opportunity to reach out to the instructor and ask for guidance. There’s strength in numbers.
3. Don’t get too comfortable
Get out of bed, sleepy head! Studying in bed or sprawled out on your couch can quickly lead to “just a quick nap” or “just an hour of Netflix.” Pick a sturdy study spot that’s comfy but not cozy, like a desk, kitchen table or high-top counter – someplace you can sit for hours without the overwhelming urge to snooze or veg out.
4. Eliminate distractions – including family
Most of us aren’t quarantined solo; odds are your sharing a space with parents, siblings and various family members during this time. If there’s a video component to your final, kindly let your family know ahead of time that you’re indisposed and require a little privacy so you don’t run the risk of unwanted cameos or loud conversations interrupting your exam. Additionally, turn off your TV and phone if possible so you’re not tempted by outside entertainment.
5. Take it one day at a time
We’re living through a global pandemic. It’s only natural that your thoughts will turn to the future. Will your summer vacation plans get canceled? Will we be back on campus in the fall? When will life return to normal? These are all questions that no one – including you – can answer. Don’t let yourself get distracted with dread; stay in the here and now and focus on one final at a time. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with your own thoughts and can’t concentrate on your computer screen, take a break! Go for a walk around the block, grab a snack, listen to relaxing music or practice meditation. It’s okay to take a breather and refocus your energy. You’ve got this!