The following entry was written by Veronica Tawney, Class of 2014.
The end of the fall semester is an exciting time. The holidays are quickly approaching, meaning a long break away from school to relax and enjoy time with family. The only thing standing between you and a home-cooked meal is all of those final projects, research papers, and looming presentations. Whether you’re in high school or college, what do you do to feel prepared?
Time management is a huge component of completing your final work for the semester with minimum stress. Hopefully you’ve been thinking about paper topics or keeping notes that will prepare you for your final exam, but if you haven’t, it’s not too late! Here’s some tips to help you with the last big push before winter break:
- Be organized. Part of being organized is keeping track of when your projects are due. If you don’t already have a planner, make use of a google calendar, a white board, or even a to-do list. You’ll be surprised at how satisfying it is to list your projects with their due dates and then cross them out as you complete each one. If you know you are extra forgetful, set reminders on your phone or email to alert you when a deadline is drawing near.
- Be aware of how much time a project will take. Look ahead and anticipate how long it might take you to complete certain tasks. If you’re a fast writer but slow at editing your film, make sure you allot more time for your film project than your essay. Give yourself enough time to finish everything, but don’t leave your slowest work until the very end. No one likes to pull all nighters!
- Set smaller goals for yourself. Don’t just focus on the big deadline. Set smaller deadlines along the way as mile markers for each project. Tell yourself you’ll have your paper topic, primary sources, and introductory paragraph done before Thanksgiving, even if the paper isn’t due until December 17th. Incorporate edits to your work as you receive them instead of waiting until the very end. You would be surprised at how much you forget if you wait too long!
- Snack healthy and get some sleep. When you’re under a lot of pressure, it’s true that some sacrifices have to be made. But don’t sacrifice your health! Eating well and getting enough sleep each night will benefit your work far more than you know. Skip a night of going out with your friends and really focus on getting a chunk of your homework done. Later, when you avoid the all-nighter and multiple espresso shots, you’ll be glad that you did. You’ll also feel much more alert if you’re eating properly. Make time for proper meals throughout the day and, if you get the urge to snack, keep your brain fueled with wholesome fruits, veggies, or nuts.
- Take advantage of resources. If you’re in over your head, the WARC is the perfect place get help with organizing, prioritizing, and planning. Scraping together a few more sources for a term paper? The reference librarians in the Iwasaki Library are there to help you find exactly what you need to tie up loose ends. If you’re working after hours, you can access Emerson’s research guides from your couch or desk.
You can do it!