How to Study Like a Pro

Monday is the last day of classes and we all know what that means—finals time. Like any good little student, I’ve perfected my finals studying schedule. I’m a senior, so be warned. This method is not for everyone.

First, I look at everything I have to do. I write every assignment in my planner and make sure to include due dates and a realistic timeline of how long each final assignment will take me to do. Keep in mind the word “realistic” here. There’s nothing worse than pretending it’ll take you three hours to write a paper knowing full well it’ll take you more like six once you fall into that dark hole of the Internet.

Second, write down the dates and times of your final exams in your planner, on your phone calendar, on your hand, whatever works best for you to remember to be there. This is an important step as not taking your exam generally leads to a very poor grade in the class.

Third, and this is my favorite part of my finals study schedule, choose which television show to start unnecessarily binge watching until it becomes really late and semi-stressful to do your work. I usually choose a show that has been on my list for a while or is easy to finish so that once I’m done I won’t have any distractions from my schoolwork. Most of the time this even works.

This year I decided to focus on the Marvel Universe, so I took a dive into Hell’s Kitchen and followed around everyone’s favorite PI, Jessica Jones. The amount of stress it caused me to actually sit there and watch probably didn’t help relieve any of my finals anxiety, but it sure was a hell of a show, and I am in no way upset I spent 10 hours watching it. (See, 10 hours. Totally manageable.)

For those of you who don’t know, Jessica Jones is one of those Netflix original series that makes you glad Netflix started making television instead of just streaming it. It’s really that good. I loved the story. The characters, like almost all superheroes and super villains, are interesting and exciting, lovable and despicable. Krysten Ritter plays Jessica, a truly strong female lead that you can’t help but despise a little bit while you root for her. David Tennant (I know, Doctor Who fans rejoice) is an excellently evil purple-loving Kilgrave who makes you kind of sick to your stomach and at least a little sorry for the way humanity can sometimes act, even in fictional stories. Together, they make one of the best match ups I’ve ever seen in a good versus bad story, and I had the hardest time every time I had to shut my computer before it was over.

You may think, how does this help me pass my exams? Well, the TV watching really doesn’t. It just makes you take a break and relax a little bit at a particularly stressful time in the semester. So I admit it, there is some actual studying in my finals study schedule. Once I’ve finished binge watching my show, I actually get down to business and study it up until finals are over. Maybe I’m just lucky, but so far this schedule has worked well for me. I can’t actually suggest putting off all of your homework and studying until after you watch endless hours of television, but I can tell you that Jessica Jones is a great television show. If you haven’t started it yet, it just might be the perfect addition to your finals study schedule. Tell yourself you’ll use it as a break if you have to. Whatever you need to convince yourself Netflix is not the enemy, because it’s not. It’s just a method to slow down, that’s all.

To those of you who opened this to actually learn some good study methods, I’m sorry if this isn’t what you wanted to read. However, I really have done very well on my examinations and papers over the past three years, and I think taking some time for yourself is a really good thing. If you don’t want to watch Jessica Jones I understand. (Not really. It’s so good you really just should.) But please, do something to break up your studying so you don’t try to jam everything from the last semester into your brain all at once. Who knows, you might actually learn something that way, and even enjoy these last couple days of classes and exams.

Procrastination, Motivation = Same Thing

So it’s crunch time. Finals are around the corner, studying has to be done, and you don’t want to do either. You know what is a great way to find that little bit of motivation you need to start some of these daunting tasks? Immersing yourself in an artistic distraction, of course! Let’s be honest, you will get distracted and procrastinate, even if you’re like superman/superwoman or something and it only last for 5 minutes. Here are some fun, artsy-ish, and inspirational ways that you can use your procrastination time, so that you’re motivating myself whilst also giving up completely on life. Ha ha, just kidding. Kind of.

1) Read something that is short and makes you smile.

A poem, some quotes, a couple pages of a book you love, just anything that allows you to escape into a happier place, even if it’s only for  a couple of minutes.

2) Do a little blogging, but set a limit people.

I’m an avid blogger, and let me tell you when I start it’s hard to stop. But, when I do find the will to stop, I find that it’s so cathartic looking through great images and immersing myself in this world to escape my academic one.

3) Get up (maybe not in a library) and dance to your favorite song of the moment.

Studying at home has its perks, and by that I mean being able to throw on Beyonce and dance to “Get Me Bodied” until my knee gives out.

4) Write.

Writing centered around your own thoughts and ideas is the best form of emotional-release, in my opinion. Buy a journal or start a blog, and instead of getting completely mixed up in your thoughts, write them down. Trust me, it’s amazing.

Good luck to those who have finals starting this week, may you spend your time wisely! 😉