Staying Motivated Through Finals

Written by Lisa Bleich.

“I am so done with school!” declared my daughter

“I know it’s hard to stay motivated, but you only have two weeks left.”

“Gabby doesn’t have to do any more work”

“Yes, but Gabby is a senior and you are a freshman. Come on, just three more weeks and then it’s summer!”

“I am so done with school!”

This conversation plays out on a routine basis in our house with my youngest daughter. (Even when it’s not two weeks before finals!) Her competitive nature ultimately keeps her on track, but it’s disheartening to hear how much she dislikes school already. In this Sunday’s NY Times Article,  Why You Hate Work, Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath argue that most people hate work because they are burned out. This feeling is not dissimilar to how students feel at the end of the year exactly when they need to shore up those extra reserves to do well on finals.


So here are some tips to help you do your best.

Organize and Plan Ahead. One of the biggest stressors for studying for midterms is feeling like there is not enough time to study. So one way to avoid that is to plan out how and when you will study at least 1-2 weeks in advance. That way you can budget your time and if you need extra time for a given subject, you will allow yourself plenty of wiggle room
Determine your needs. Determine in advance if you think you will need extra help in a given subject. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, your parents, or if possible a tutor in the subject. Sometimes it helps reduce the stress by going over the material with someone else.

Create a “Distraction Free” Zone. It’s very difficult to study with Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and text messages coming in from every direction. Take at least one hour per day alone to give yourself a chance to focus and absorb your material. That means, turning off cell phones, making yourself “invisible” on video chat and keeping Facebook off. It may seem impossible, but you will find yourself able to be much more productive and better prepared.

Take an Exercise Break. If you find yourself getting antsy, go for a run or walk, go to the gym, or just move around for 30 minutes. Exercise will release endorphins and minimize stress and make you better able to stay on task.

Good luck on your finals!

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