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Sarah O'Malley

Sarah O’Malley is a fourth-year Journalism student from Boston, MA who has since moved to Orono, ME to study at the University of Maine. She is a staff writer for the Culture section and enjoys attending events, meeting new people, and learning more about UMaine and its students. In her free time she enjoys hiking, cooking, watching documentaries, and playing with dogs.

Well, it’s that time of year again. Finals are exactly two weeks away. Two more weeks of classes means a lot of final projects, papers and maybe even capstone presentations or thesis defenses if you’re a senior. There’s plenty to stress about so here are 10 simple tips to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed and overworked.

Make lists. This cannot be stressed enough. Writing down everything you have to do in a day helps you keep track of everything in a visual manner, and you can feel accomplished when you get to cross things off. And at the end of the day you can see all you’ve achieved.

Take breaks. It’s impossible to study for six hours straight. Everyone needs time to recoup, rejuvenate and relax. Half hour breaks every two hours are a good compromise, which leads me to my next tip…

Reward yourself. After busting your butt for two hours straight you deserve a treat to recognize your hard work. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Rewards can include snacks, Netflix sessions, phone calls to your family or friends, a walk outside for a breath of fresh air or whatever floats your boat.

Prioritize sleep. It can be tempting to think you can brush off sleep in order to study but it’s never really fruitful. A lack of sleep can affect your cognitive abilities, including test taking and studying. Make sure to get at least some shut-eye every night, and naps can be a great way to get some rest during the day.

Limit time on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… these sites can be addicting and time consuming. Have you ever gone onto your phone just to check the weather and then 45 minutes later you’re Facebook stalking your childhood best friend’s new boyfriend? Limiting your time browsing social media can free up time and minimize overall stress and anxiety.

Eat regular meals. College students live with such hectic schedules that it can be easy to forget that eating three solid meals a day can really improve overall health and mind function. Snag a smoothie or a piece of fruit from the Union or the dining halls if need be, but it’s always important to nourish and care for your body.

Make your own study guides and flashcards. This is a great way to thoroughly understand the material at hand from your own perspective. Take your class notes or homeworks and rewrite and rework them into personal study guides and flashcards. It will go a long way toward understanding the concepts and not just memorizing definitions.

Cuddle with the therapy dogs. Every year around finals week a furry clan of therapy dogs takes over Fogler Library to help students cope with all kinds of stressors affecting their lives. On May 1, 3 and 7 visit the library to meet and greet the adorable four-legged pals.

Study alongside friends or classmates. This can help make studying less tedious and more collaborative, and it’s always useful to have someone to ask questions of, go over concepts with, and help quiz you on material. Make a library date of it and invite your friends.

Clean your spaces. Most people feel more productive in clean spaces, and cleaning can help clear your mind and focus your energy. Clear off a desk or a space in the library and organize your study materials from there.

Although the end of the semester is hectic, overwhelming and daunting, there are resources to help and things you can do to minimize stress. Always remember that the Counseling Center is one call away at (207) 581-1392 if things ever get out of control, but if you follow these tips you are more than capable of taking the semester by storm and finishing strong!