At the end of every semester comes my favorite week of the year. That’s right, it’s finals week. Okay, I know that may be an unpopular opinion, but hear me out!
You do not have other classes, all extracurricular activities are done and exams and final projects are all you have to worry about. While, yes, you need to study a lot during this time, you will be surprised by how much free time you have.
Here are a few things I learned my freshman year that I believe will help you have the best finals week ever!
1. Plan your free time and study time. I’ve learned it’s best to create a schedule and keep to it as much as possible during finals week. Plan to study during the day, and study for things as early as you can. It never fails that your friends will want to be spontaneous and go do something fun at night. You will want to be part of that as much as you are able to; you never know what memories and bonding experiences will come out of it. Who knows? If I had not been open to it, I never would have jumped in the lake in the dead of winter with two of my best friends if I still had to study for my exam the next day.
2. Change things up. Find new places to study and people to study with. I have a lot of energy and often have a hard time being in the same place for too long. I used to try studying in the library because that is what all of my friends did. When I started moving around to the student center, computer labs, open classrooms and coffee shops to study, I found that I got significantly more work done. I also got closer to some of my classmates because we were studying in the same place even if we were not studying the same thing.
3. Cinnamon rolls and board games. Ouachita does a lot to make sure that students are having a good experience and are not overwhelmed with the anxiety and worry associated with finals. First, cinnamon rolls. Yes, it’s a big deal! The caf takes their cinnamon rolls very seriously, and you should, too. Also, for a good study break, if you check out the student center you will find stacks of games, cards and puzzles. You can also expect relaxing videos of puppies or of Bob Ross being played at Dr. Jack’s.
4. Get off campus. There are plenty of fun things to do in or around Arkadelphia during finals week. If you need to stay in Arkadelphia, look at the Christmas lights downtown or drive around looking at the Christmas lights in cute neighborhoods. Hot Springs is a great place to look at lights on Bathhouse row, Garvan Gardens or the Arlington Hotel. The lights at the Capitol in Little Rock are also definitely worth mentioning. Whether you do something festive like ice skating in Little Rock or take a midnight trip to Whataburger in Texarkana, don’t shy away from these super fun adventures that aren’t too far from home.
5. Reflect on the semester. Aww, okay, let me be cute for just a second. After my first semester I saw that I had learned a lot of things. I felt like a completely changed person in just one semester. I am so thankful that a friend of mine who was a senior at the time told me to write down key life things I had learned that semester. So now at the end of every semester, I take a few minutes to write a paragraph or so about the lessons I learned; this helps me appreciate and recognize the people and experiences that impacted me in that season. Also, I like to keep this list on my phone to look back on it when I need some encouragement throughout the school year.
I will leave you with this thought. As the end of the semester wraps up, it is hard to say goodbyes to the memories made and people loved. But make sure you say your goodbyes! Some of these may be short and sweet because it’s just for a break or semester, and some are definitely more difficult as more and more people graduate. Make time to do this, too, during finals week. You will be glad you did.
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