Finals week is quickly approaching at The University of Southern Mississippi.
As stress levels climb and test anxiety hits, students cram to ready themselves for multiple, oftentimes cumulative, exams during finals week. Not only must students prepare for dreaded exams but also lengthy research papers, final projects and presentations.
While success is the ultimate end goal for most students, some are anticipating the light at the end of the tunnel: summertime.
Cook Library at Southern Miss is open 24 hours every day during finals week to accommodate hours- long memorization of notes, reading of entire books, practicing speeches, writing 15-page papers and even the occasional 3 a.m. nap. Coffee sales skyrocket, and empty energy drink cans can be found in almost every garbage can.
Conveniently, Starbucks is located in Cook Library and foresees a busy phase in the next two weeks. Starbucks in the library is open 24 hours Sunday through Thursday.
“We staff more people is about all we can do,” said lead supervisor Victoria Bolls. “We try to get people in and out as quickly as possible when we’re busy.”
Bolls said the job gets exhausting during finals week.
“At our busiest times, it’s like running a marathon back here,” she said.
Every student becomes a mathematician around this time, trying to calculate the minimum score to make the desired grade in each class.
Senior liberal studies major Deidre Tubby prefers to start studying two to three months in advance for finals week.
“Study early so that you won’t have to feel like you’re on the edge and pressured coming toward finals,” she said. “You’ll feel less stressed.”
Several USM students are remaining focused and are striving to finish strong at the end of the semester. Some are graduating, and some are aiming to earn a high GPAs as they will return in the summer or the fall.
“I’ve done it on some occasions, but I’ve also been encouraged to talk with my instructors to get the actual calculation,” Tubby said. “Most of the time, I don’t worry about a calculation.”
Students are advised by faculty, staff, friends and family to put in their best efforts to succeed, and to do that, they must use the most effective study tips and strategies to make the best grades on their finals.
Tubby said she is preparing very well this semester.
“Even when I’m done [studying], I go back and check on all my work and make sure I haven’t missed any of my assignments,” she said. “There would be some chill time in between. Even on the weekends, I study for six hours a day.”
Tubby stressed to the people who are taking finals to start early so they can sleep early.
Alternating study spots to spice up a finals routine will improve retention while studying, according to the New York Times. Spending 10 hours in one seat in the library drains a person, but switching rooms or seats can surprisingly revitalize the mind.
The infamous all-nighter is a move almost every college senior has pulled by now. A tip to every student is to avoid all-nighters. According to a 2008 study by Pamela Thacher, associate professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University, all-nighters weaken cognitive performance and memory for up to four days.
Students worldwide prefer listening to music while they study.
Not only do students jam out during study sessions, but they also text, watch television or allow social media to entertain them. Distractions prevent the retention of information. Instrumental music is recommended instead of music with lyrics.
Freshman banking finance major Sequerstin Blue said students should a head start on studying for finals.
“It’s less stress on you, and you can get your best results and relax for the next two and a half months,” she said.
Students should remember, however, that the stress of finals will be over soon, and this promise brings with it the reward of summer. The rigorous work will be worth it.