As we near the end of this infamous semester with finals rapidly approaching, I’m sure many of us are struggling to make it to the end. With everything going online, it’s arguably harder to manage due dates, assignments and the incredible amount of stress that typically comes with finals season. I’m coming to you today, fellow Bears, to provide some tips and tricks to stay motivated through this difficult time.
- To-do lists. There is nothing more that I love in life than a to-do list, and they’re perfect for staying on track through the end of the semester. Typically, I will go through each of my syllabi, and write down on a single list whatever is due that week and categorize things by class. By doing this, I know exactly what assignments need to be done, and what can wait till the next week to do. This keeps me organized and less overwhelmed as the assignments tend to stack up. Once I have my weekly to do list, I prioritize my assignments and work by urgency of deadlines. Making sectioned to-do lists presents due dates and assignments in manageable terms, and keeps everything from getting jumbled in my brain. They are a must for the end of the year scaries!
- Have a designated learning environment. Working from home is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it’s nice to stay in my pajamas all day and lounge in my cozy bed, but it’s not necessarily the most conducive environment for learning. Unfortunately, my bedroom at home is the only space quiet enough for me to get my work done. To combat the desire to stay in bed all day watching Netflix and YouTube, I’ve had to change my mentality about online learning. To stimulate productivity, I give my room a quick clean, and make my bed. Then, I either leave my phone on my bed and sit in a separate part of my room to do my homework, or I’ll stow my phone completely out of sight so I’m not tempted to check it. By having a clean environment free of distractions, you’re more likely to be productive because there’s less clogging your mind. Creating this safe space for learning is crucial, especially considering the disrupt we’ve had to our typical semester. If you can’t be in a classroom, turn your room into one.
- Rewards! I can’t stress enough how important it is to reward yourself for the work that you’ve done. Adjusting to the new norm is difficult, especially when your world has flipped upside down. Finishing one assignment now takes twice as long as it did before the pandemic, and this is totally normal. I’ve even found myself slacking on assignments that I was enthusiastic about earlier in the semester. However, this doesn’t mean you’re doing any worse than you were before, you still deserve to give yourself the credit for doing that assignment, even more so actually. After finishing an assignment that I had no motivation to do, I do something for myself that I know will make me happy. For example, I’ll let myself watch a few videos or TV episodes before moving onto the next assignment, or I’ll scroll through my social media. Sometimes, I’ll even take a trip down to the closest Dunkin Donuts for my favorite drink, while following all safety precautions of course. Whatever it is that makes you happy, use that as motivation to get through an assignment. You’ll find yourself wanting to get things done to get to that reward, and in turn cross more things off your to do list! It’s a win-win situation. Reward yourself, we all deserve it at a time like this.
- Be patient with yourself. Nobody really knows what they’re doing right now, we’re all just trying to make it through the day. If you’re really not feeling up to doing an assignment, don’t try to force yourself into doing it. You’ll end up with a finished product that you aren’t happy with, or you’ll create a hostile environment. Just be patient, and work on things as you feel comfortable. If you just can’t get something done today, that’s okay. Reach out if you’re struggling. We’re all here to help.
These are unprecedented times, and transitioning to completely remote learning has been a challenge for students, professors, and staff. While this is not the end we had envisioned, it’s the end we’ve got, and it’s just around the corner. Keep pushing through finals, and we’ll see you in the fall, Bears.