Once again, it's that time of the semester when everyone at school start saying the “F” word. My heart skips a beat whenever someone brings it up . Yes, we’re talking ……FINALS! I don’t know about you, but it seems that every single time the instructors start passing out that midterm final study guide, I’m always perplexed. Why? Because it always seems too soon to be at the halfway point of the course, especially for somebody who needs to catch up on their work.
Have you ever been so stressed out that you became your own worst enemy and nothing you read makes sense or gets stored in your brain? No worry just breathe!! We’ve done this so many times that we know the routine! Some of you will stay up all night and pull all-nighters and cram, cram,cram! Then you go home right after the finals and sleep until the next morning. This time around let’s try an alternative method. As Murphy’s Law would have, we’re turning up the heat with the Covid-19 state of emergency regulations to see what we’re made of.
The following is a bit of advice with some time management skills to help you get through all of this without needing a strait jacket. Make sure you hit the grocery store to find water, food and if you’re lucky ….toilet paper, then decide what needs to be prioritized first.
Everyone has their own study methods whether it’s re-reading textbook chapters, taking practice quizzes, or maybe reviewing your in-class notes. Here’s something you should try if you haven’t yet — rewriting or summarizing both your own classroom notes and the textbook chapters. Research has shown that this method helps you to better learn the subject matter. It can also help you synthesize the main themes of the chapter or class. It may seem time-consuming but it’s a simple method that you can put to the test to see if it helps for you. Also, remember that while studying, use the 50/10 Rule: Work in 50-minute chunks and use the last 10 minutes to give your body a break from the material that you have been studying.
Get those endorphins rushing by fueling yourself with the proper nutrients (making sure half your plate is filled with veggies is a good way to start!) and moving your body. Exercise doesn‘t have to last hours — just 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training should be enough! This will make for a clear and active mind that is ready to take on any exam.
Your brain works best when it’s hydrated. Dehydration causes fatigue and headaches, which will distract you from your work. Our brains are the first to feel the effects of dehydration and it shows up by a loss of concentration. Staying properly hydrated enables the brain to stay alert so we can keep our attention and focus. Drinking water increases the brain's temperature and gets rid of toxins and dead cells. Caffeine dehydrates you more, so for every cup of coffee you drink, have a glass or bottle of water. Your body and mind will thank you. We need water in our brains in order to be at our sharpest.
If you can power-nap for 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll feel so much better afterwards. Try to take your nap earlier in the day, like before 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Napping for an hour or longer increases your risk of falling into the deep stages of sleep and you’ll wake up groggy which defeats the purpose.
I hate to say it, but your computer (or smartphone) during finals week is most likely going to be your biggest distraction. We don’t multitask as well as we think we do — especially when it comes time to learning new material. I can’t count the amount of times I think I’m just going to do a little glance on my social media and 40 minutes later……I’m still looking at it! Likewise, we probably have the TV on while trying to catch the latest update on the COVID-19. Even the CDC suggest turning off news at some point in your day. Update overload can lead to anxiety and if you have small children imagine what they are feeling.
Sometimes you might have to put 15 minutes aside prior to digging out those books to pick up a few things around the room . Is it just me or when there is too much of a mess in front of me, I end up having a hard time focusing? I get too distracted. If you find yourself relating, then maybe it’s worth the effort to organize before studying. Maybe put on some smooth jazz or soft classical music in the background . Try not to play any music with words because that too can be distracting. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables every day. For a list of disinfectants approved by the CDC, go to List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 | US EPA.
If you need to vent and you don’t know who to talk to, try journaling. Keeping a journal has helped many people explore their emotions and well as simply ease their stress. What we are experiencing at this present time is history in the making. The Covid-19 events are the first in world history and one day your journal entries could be priceless. After time passes its always interesting to re-read those old entries and be amazed at how much you’ve grown since then. If you’re not big on writing, then make a video journal using your phone or simply voice record yourself speaking your entry. You’ll be amazed at how you feel after.
Sometimes having study sessions whether it’s with another classmate or a group can help lower the stress level . Being able to connect with someone who can relate can make a huge difference. However, the corona virus brings with it the idea of social distancing. This is the first time that many of us has ever heard of such a phrase, yet alone implementing it . However, we do have technology now where we can get a little creative and organize a conference call thru Zoom or Skype, or any other application that supports a party line. A successful study group can happen, and no one even has to leave the comfort of their own home.
Take advantage of some of the College events which are designed to ease the process. Though the college itself is shut down until the 30th of March, there are still some online resources. For a complete list of student service contacts link Coastline Student Services Resources Remember, never be afraid to ask for help!
Make sure that you have access to a WebCam. Some Laptops come readily equipped with one build into it. Why is this so important ? When you take an online class there’s a good chance that your exam will be proctored. Some instructors will require that students download Proctorio. What is Proctorio? It is a secure monitoring platform that integrates with Canvas and ONLY works within the Chrome web browser. This automated system lets instructors decide which settings to use for each exam with the click of a mouse.
Make sure that you download Proctorio at least a week or two before the day of your final . The last thing you want to find out is that your computer is not compatible with the Proctorio download the day of the exam and you don’t know what to do . If you’re having trouble you should schedule an appointment for test taking at the Assessment Center of your school prior to the day of the final.
What’s important to remember is that Coastline is still there for us. For parents who attend Coastline and now must face the issue of homeschooling their children, the college has tutoring courses that can assist you with teaching your child, so they do not have to fall behind. You can even get free wi-fi thru Charter if you need it! For some of you that haven’t bought your textbooks, you can now get free e-textbooks. For more information on all of these resources click this link; Novel Coronavirus Updates (COVID-19)
For those of you counting on your financial aid, don’t worry. It’s still coming as originally scheduled. The government is issuing unemployment and disability insurance if you catch the virus. You can also receive paid family leave if you must take care of anyone with the virus. The state secured SBA disaster assistance for California small businesses economically impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, since we are in a state of emergency, no one will have their utilities shut off and no one can be evicted during this time. Try not to stress and stay positive, because our experience depends on the attitude we adopt through all of this. Regardless of the social distancing, we must focus on helping one another get through this time.