Do as I say, not as I do

FINALS Survival Guide: What to DO and what NOT to do.

For some reason, a lot of people think I have it all together and am super type A when it comes to studying. For the most part, sure, I like to be very organized when it comes to exam time and I’m  obsessed with list-making.  That doesn’t mean it always goes according to my little perfect plan for test domination. If it comes across like I do have it all together and have all the secrets to smart studying, then I’m doing a good job of hiding my occasional procrastination, mini-mental-freak-outs mid study sesh, 15 minute turned hour social media time-wasting break, late-night snacking, and sans-coffee desperation. I thought I’d put together a little list (there’s that type A in me) of some of the things I’ve learned over the past 2 and half years of conquering the week of *f-words* and not having it end up the other way around.

  1. DO write up a detailed schedule of what you plan on studying each day and for how long.  DON’T get discouraged when you’re already behind your ideal plan after day one (ahem, me last night).
  2. DO organize all your notes/papers/outlines/powerpoints by chapter and unit test so it’s in manageable chunks. DON’T do the math and realize you’re responsible for over 2000 slides of detailed information (yay biochem).
  3. DO make time for exercising to keep your sanity and get some feel-good endorphins flowing. DON’T sit for more than a couple of hours without at least taking a lap around the library to remember your brain is attached to a body and that body needs to move.
  4. DO plan ahead with ample healthy snacks and on-the-go meals. DON’T waste your time at the library arguing with your “study” group over what pizza to have delivered after you’ve realized you haven’t eaten a real meal all day.
  5. DO take the time to calculate what grade you need to make on each of your finals to earn the grade you want; this will help you know how to prioritize which classes deserve more of your time. DON’T spend more time doing this than actually studying.
  6. DO take occasional breaks after every hour or two to do fun things like listen to your favorite song you can’t help dancing to, looking at pretty/funny/motivational things on Pinterest, or reading a passage from your Bible.  DON’T let this turn into all out motivation loss and precious hours down the drain.
  7. DO try to get maybe at least 6 hours of sleep each night.  No, it’s not the ideal 8 or 9, but does that even happen in real college life??? DON’T pull all-nighters. Period.
  8. DO have maybe one or two fun events to look forward to in the midst of finals. For example, tonight my Jesus and the Gospels professor has invited our class over for dinner at his house tonight to be together one last time as a class. I’ve also been known to host a small dinner party during finals for a much-needed break (last year was soup sampling with butternut squash and broccoli cheese soup – comfort food at its finest). DON’T treat dead days as an excuse to go party and get drunk like a lot of students do, thinking you’ll have enough time to study before your finals. Nope.
  9. DO prioritize studying over your appearance/getting ready time. DON’T forget to regularly shower and please try to refrain from pjs and pillows in the library.
  10. DO be confident that you will do well if you’ve worked hard all semester to learn the material. God honors our diligence in our studies for His glory, and He is faithful to keep His promises. If you know He has called you to become a doctor or lawyer, trust in His plan for your future. It might end up looking differently than what you’re envisioning, but don’t lose hope because of the challenges of school.  DON’T let your GPA define you.

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5 thoughts on “Do as I say, not as I do

  1. Eventual DDS says:

    Hi, fellow dental student here! Great survival guide. With regards to #5, there’s a handy iPhone app called iStudiez that has a grade-calculating feature. Best of luck on your finals!

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