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Ending the Semester Strong

Going from the homestretch to the finish line.

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Source: istock 935941772

It’s that crazy time of the year again. The time when classes are wrapping up as the semester closes and you’ve got more work than you think you can accomplish. If you’re like most college students, you’re feeling overwhelmed, if not panicked, about how you’re going to get it all done and turned in on time. If you’ve struggled in the past and taken incompletes or failed some classes, then it’s likely that your stress levels are extra high. Take a deep breath. Here are some effective ways that you can finish this term and stay sane.

1. Make an interactive calendar. You need a calendar to organize your life right now. There’s just no way around this. If you don’t have one already, then purchase or print out an old-fashioned calendar with blocks for each and a page for each month. Get some small post-its too. Write the due dates of your assignments on the post-its and put them on the calendar. Then, working backwards, create blocks of time to study and complete this work, giving yourself enough time for revisions. To avoid getting bored, allow yourself to alternate subjects in your work blocks.

Source: iStock-935983338

2. Set up daily rewards. You’re working really hard right now to finish school and transition to the next phase of your life. It’s important to give yourself some small rewards as you go through this process as incentives and breaks. Make a quick list of things that would be fun but not inappropriate. Late night donut runs with friends; going for a run after an afternoon of studying; taking a dinner break with a friend. While it may be tempting to have a few drinks, smoke marijuana or engage in random sex, I’d really advise not to make those choices despite how tempting they may be. These are not only bad for your brain (which needs all of the strength it can muster right now) but they’ll also affect your concentration about what’s really important.

3. Plan for something fun with friends before you leave school. Once you’ve completed all of your work and breathe a sigh of RELIEF, contact some friends and have some good old-fashioned fun. Go for a picnic, have a pizza party, watch a movie together, spend time in nature. Unwind in healthy ways and connect with folks you care about. This will set you up for a positive departure from school.

Good luck! Keep focused on your goals and BREATHE. You can do this!

More from Sharon Saline Psy.D.
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