Crunch Time: Surviving the Last 4 Weeks of the Semester

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With just four weeks left before classes end for the semester, some students might be feeling the pressure. During this time stress levels reach their max as deadlines begin to overlap; papers and projects become due; and studying for finals starts to become an ever present need. But with a little planning, you can combat the chaos of the end of semester crunch.

Evaluate your situation.
Set aside a few hours to evaluate where you stand in each of your courses. Making a list of what is due now, due soon, and past due for each course will make this process easier. Also note which courses you are struggling in as you may need to spend extra time getting caught up on this material or course work. If you are involved with any clubs, organizations or groups that also make demands on your time, you will want to record these activities as well.

Prioritize your responsibilities.
Start with assignments that are past due. If you can still turn the assignments in for some credit, make a plan to complete them within the next couple of days and turn them in. Prioritize the rest of your responsibilities by importance and due date. Obviously, things due in the immediate future should be completed first, but also take into account that some assignments like research papers or projects require more time to complete and should be started as soon as possible.

Break complicated tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
For big assignments and projects, think about the steps to complete the project and make those individual tasks. So instead of facing one insurmountable project, you can deal with several smaller tasks over a period of time.

Create a crunch plan for the rest of the semester.
Get a calendar and make a schedule for the next four weeks. Enter all daily activities (classes, work, sleep, etc.) into the calendar. This will give you a better idea of your free time throughout the day. Whenever you have a free moment, schedule a set time to work on each task. Be realistic about the amount of time needed to complete each task and schedule additional days if needed.

Postpone low priority tasks until the end of the semester.
Low priority tasks include events and activities not related to your course work and can reasonably be put off until a later date. If at all possible, postpone these projects until after the semester when you’ll have more time to complete them.

Ask for help.
Seek help with course work you do not fully understand. Talk with the instructor about problems you are having with the material or join a study group that meets regularly to go over notes and assignments. If there is not a study group for your course, make one and invite students to join.

Get plenty of sleep and eat well.
The best way to create stress is not getting enough sleep or skipping meals. Our brains work at their best when we are well rested and on a regular eating schedule. Be sure to get enough sleep to feel completely rested and eat high protein/low carb foods for energy without the sugar crash.

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