The Wrath of Finals Week

It’s that time of year again…

Finals time is different for all of us. Every once in a while I run into somebody who thrives this time of year, excelling in the rush of a packed schedule and four different 40-point projects. Then there are some who wait until the the last minute, let the anxiety get the best of them, and build it all up as their own personal End-of-the-World.

Well I’ve come to you this week with some calming words and advice to get you through…

FINALS WEEK.For some, finals week doesn’t just mean exams and papers. It can also mean graduating, which means real life being-an-adult-make-your-own-dentist-appointments-get-a-job-soon time. So I’ll start with Seniors.

First thing for Seniors to do is:

  • Be proud of yourself. You did it! You are two weeks away. And yes, the “Senior Slump” can be infectious, but don’t let it get the best of you. Now is the time when the most positive you is the most important. There are professionals looking to hire confident students with fresh ideas, so bring the best you out.
  • If you haven’t been to your Industry Event session yet, come to our Career Friday event at noon to prepare! If you have been to your Industry Event, still come and brush up on how to speak to professionals.
  • If you need to take a week off from job searching, that’s okay!Focus on your school work! Relieving some of the anxiety now will not destroy your changes at happiness forever. Plus, the Portfolio Center is open all summer, so we can help you with the job search later.
    • Keep in mind that the average job search takes roughly 3 – 6 months (luckily you have already started by preparing materials like your resume/portfolio with us).
    • The ideal is to triage in your final week. Apply for a job within 24 hours of it being posted. This will put your application at the top of their viewing list. So apply for your ‘top tier’ jobs as soon as you can.
  • Attend all of those final events for the final time. Manifest, galleries, showcases, all of those events that you only went to Freshman year because of the free food. This time you have an opportunity to really appreciate them, you know what work really goes into putting those events together. It’s also a calming reminder that there are other creative students around you. Finals can feel like a very empty, rushed time. But for seniors, it’s your last finals. Slow down, remember your community, and appreciate the beautiful art that comes from the antics.

Now let’s bring in the rest of the student body! What should do? Most importantly:

  • Sleep! And if you don’t sleep, schedule that all night-er ahead of time so you can be prepared to feel sleepy the next day. Sleep goes a long way, and the more you get, the easier it will be to do your homework.
  • Drink lots of water! You can sip all the coffee you want, but nothing is going to make you more productive than a tall glass of water followed by a long, deep breath.
  • Revel in the art of Skimming. You know those books that you read a page of, and then realize you have no idea what you just read? Skim through the material first. Grab the first and last sentences of each paragraph, intuit when they first one leads into more crucial information; if you see repeating words, refer back to their first mention, use up the highlighters, and then take a breather. However, make sure that you fully understand the text by the end. Skimming isn’t copping out, it’s a skill for different learning styles.
  • The Trusty To-Do List. There isn’t much that feels as good during finals week as etching in a check mark next to a completed task. And then crumpling the whole list and setting it ablaze once you’re finished with it entirely (metaphorically speaking, I’m not condoning starting unsafe fires in your dorm room or anything, please don’t actually set it on fire). List all of your assignments by due dates and page counts. So the one that is due tomorrow and is two-pages long? Yeah, do that one first.
  • Study outside. The sunlight is good for you. Don’t keep yourself cooped up in the dusty, sleepy library. Get outside to the park across the street from the 600 S. Michigan block with your books, occasionally curling up in the fetal position in the grass sighing wistfully. I know that’s where I’ll be.

And the last two, the two that I find most important:

  • ASK. FOR. HELP. It is still okay to ask for help. To matter the age, no matter the grade, no matter the bed-head due to lack of sleep, no matter if you’ve stayed silent in class all semester. It is always okay to admit that you need help or that you don’t understand. There is strength in admitting that. It is called learning. It is what you came here to do.
  • Find time for humor. It’s the best medicine. It will keep you sane. Watch a funny video, laugh at yourself, sit by the lake and watch people roller-blading who don’t know how to roller-blade, whatever it takes. This video was a recent favorite for a few of us in the office:

“Two Chips” / An Animated Short from Adam Patch on Vimeo.

Keep it up, you can do this!