It is hard to believe how quickly this semester has gone by, and even harder to believe that with its approaching end, the understanding that finals week is now upon us. Although this is considered to be the most stressful part of the semester, with the right organizational skills and self-care routines, it doesn’t have to be. Thid blog post will focus on how to stay organized during these final weeks, along with some tips for self-care to reduce anxiety and stress during this time.
In my first semester of graduate school, I accidentally waited to start a 15-page paper 3 days before the due date because I spent too much time on another final project for a different course. Don’t be like past Heather and wait to start working on your final papers or assignments. This week is the perfect time to prep and write drafts, and to outline a work strategy or timeline. For example, this semester, I made an outline of what I wanted to accomplish this week, and then broke that down into different daily goals. For example, on Monday, I found two additional sources needed for the five required for my final paper. This semester, I also have a 15-20 page paper due as my final project. Instead of trying to write 5 pages of content each day, for the rest of this week I will try to write three double spaced pages each day, or one and a half single spaced. Even if I don’t get three pages done each day, I will have at least a page/page and half done, which is more productive than not having anything written. Another way to stay organized is to make a timeline of due dates. Write out when the rough draft, peer reviews, and final papers are due, as a way to not only stay on top of your personal goals, but also the ones required for your course.
As students, we know that some days are more productive than others for a variety of reasons, such as how much sleep we get the night before, how much time we have in a day to actually work on our projects, and if we had time to eat in the day or not. Productivity directly connects to self-care, as if we keep pushing ourselves without taking care of ourselves, it will result in either massive burnout or a breakdown. Self-care doesn’t just look like putting on a facemask with cucumbers over the eyes (although it is okay if that is what self-care looks like to you!). It can also be rewatching your favorite movie or comfort shows, putting together a puzzle, ordering or making your favorite meal, taking a hot bath or shower, reading a book, or even something as simple as doing your laundry. Whatever allows you to take a break from your work and rest your mind for a temporary period of time is a form of self-care, and it is necessary to take these breaks to ensure productivity for your final assignments.
Good luck to all the grad students completing their finals in the next two weeks, you have got this!