Did Somebody Say Finals Week?

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the Oval is full of life. In the forefront of your mind, you are likely thinking about the summer plans taking place shortly. No matter what you will be doing, we all need some relaxation time! Amidst all of this happiness, you realize that the semester is almost over… meaning finals week is soon approaching us. Finals week this time of year can be a challenge for a few reasons:

  • The weather is beautiful and you want to spend every moment outside
  • This might be your last time on campus until the fall, so you want to take in every moment
  • You have to saying goodbye and see you later to the many friends you have made this year
  • You’re excited about summer plans and a long, much needed break

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some tips to tackle finals week and stay on top- even when you have spring fever.

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

The most precious thing that we have as college students is time. With only two weeks left and a lot to do, good time management is key. Make a list of things you have to get done each day. The key is to set small goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. For me, I make a to-do list for each day and set small, realistic tasks I know I can accomplish. Plus, it is so gratifying to finish a to-do list!

Use the outdoors to your advantage

The idea of being stuck inside the library for the next two weeks seems sad, but if you utilize the great spaces on campus you can enjoy the outdoors, too. Even if studying outside isn’t for you, try taking a a break by walking or tossing a Frisbee outside.

  • Study outside on a bench, picnic table, or grass
  • The courtyard in Hagerty Hall is a great place to study and relax
  • Try the nice grassy courtyard in between Park-Stradley and Siebert Halls

Take advantage of Reading Day

The Office of Student Life puts on an an entire day of free activities and events. Take a study break with some friends or even try a workout class to give your brain a rest. You can check out the schedule online for this year’s reading day, which is Tuesday, April 26.

Coordinate when you are moving out

With all of the assignments and studying, you might forget that you will need to make plans to move out of your residence hall if you live on campus. Talk to your RA or reach out to your Peer Leader if you need packing advice and travel tips, and review the information on the housing website to make sure you’re following move-out procedures correctly.

Make plans to stay in touch with your friends

All of your friends might be done with finals at different times, so it is important to stay on top of this. Plan ways to stay in touch with your friends over the summer, whether that be through Skype, texting, or even a trip! Having some trouble thinking of ways to stay in touch with your friends? Contact a Peer Leader!

Be thankful!

One of my most important values is gratitude, for a simple thank you goes a long way. I would not be at the place I am now without the professors, friends, and family who have guided me through my Ohio State journey. Make sure to thank those that made an impact on you before you leave for the summer. Here are a few ideas of people to thank:

  • The professor in the class you really enjoyed this semester, or the TA who helped you in your class
  • The cashier at the Ohio Union who always swiped your BuckID
  • The cleaning staff in your residence hall who made your building clean and safe
  • Your RA for building community and supporting you throughout your first year of college
  • The friends you have made at Ohio State
  • Your family for supporting you along this journey

With these tips, I hope you can tackle finals week. Take a deep breath and enter finals week organized, and of course thankful for a great first year.

6 New Places to Study for Finals

With finals week approaching, Thompson Library can get pretty full, and sometimes it is hard to find a seat. However, no need to worry: Ohio State features many other great study locations on campus!

Residence hall study lounges

All of the residence halls have places for students to study, with 24-hour quiet hours during finals week. If you live on campus, this is super convenient because there is no reason to leave the building. I recommend studying in your building if you plan on being up late; that way, you don’t have to worry about walking back alone in the dark.

18th Avenue Library

18th Avenue Library is great because it is open 24 hours. Nobody is going to ask you to pack up and leave when you are on a roll. Whether you are planning on studying all night or just stopping in between classes, this is a great location!

Loft above 12th Avenue Bread Company

The space above 12th Avenue Bread Company (adjacent to Kennedy Commons) houses a study room with some large tables and some comfy chairs. There are rarely many people there and it stays pretty quiet. I find this to be a great place to spread out if I have a lot of papers and books. And once you are finished studying you can reward yourself with a great meal from Kennedy!

Cafés all over campus

If you don’t mind a little noise, the cafés can be a great place to get some studying done and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. My favorite is Connecting Grounds on north campus because not only is the coffee delicious, but the chairs are super comfy.

Smith Laboratory

There is another great study room in Smith Laboratory. This room has a lot of tables and chairs, as well as a ton of outlets to charge your computer. There are also some great group study rooms here. Check this out when you need a change of scenery!

Other libraries

If none of these places are your cup of tea, you can find the whole list of campus libraries–as well as extended hours for finals week–on the University Libraries website. I’m sure you can find library that works well for you!

Prepping for Finals Week

Can you believe that final exams are right around the corner? It seems like we went from week 1 to week 14 in 60 seconds. I know it can be especially tricky to find motivation to focus and study when we just came back from a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving break. All I want to do is sit on my couch wearing sweatpants and watching endless seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Trust me–my textbooks never seem more appealing than Netflix. So, it’s a good thing that Ohio State gives us a day off to gear up for exams. This beautiful day is called Reading Day.

You might be thinking: “What the heck is Reading Day?”

Reading Day falls between the last day of classes and the first day of exams. This year, Reading Day is on Thursday, December 10th. This day is meant to be used for studying and preparing for exams. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your notes organized from every class, print off those study guides, and try not to drown in the endless piles of notecards (maybe that’s just me…) However, this is also a really good way to take a moment to breathe and collect yourself before the stress of exams becomes overwhelming.

      

Here are some helpful ways to relax and de-stress: take some time to stretch, head to Berry Café and treat yourself to a latte, watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix, or just laugh with some friends (my personal favorite.) You can also check out these fitness classes and sessions held at the RPAC, Union, and Younkin Success Center.

The Office of Student Life works very hard to put together activities and events to help students alleviate some stress during the week. Whether you venture out across campus or stay in your room to study, it’s very important to give yourself a break. Stress and anxiety can build in the days and weeks leading up to finals, so take some time to clear your head and re-focus your energy. I know it can seem counterproductive to take a break and “lose study time,” but even a 15-minute break can supply more benefits than you think.

Stay tuned for some fun events put on by yours truly, the Peer Leader staff! We’re available to help you figure some studying or time management strategies, find ways to relax, or answer any other questions you might have!

Feel free to reach out to your Peer Leader, or you can email me directly at: hageman.64s@osu.edu.

Top 5 Places to Study on Campus

With the remaining three days of finals week, the only thing we’re supposed to be thinking about is studying. However, by now, with some students already finished with their finals, you may have experienced moments where your “freed” peers are too loud for you to get any work done. Let’s be honest here, the last thing we want to do is be studying, but changing up where you do it can give you the little jolt of motivation that you may need.

1. 18th Avenue Library

The 18th Avenue Library is near and dear to north campus dwellers. With its three floors and hundreds of computers, it’s a great place to study. It’s also an amazing place gather with your friends because of its more conversation-friendly spaces. One example is the third floor, a place free from the scary “hear-a-pin-drop” silence of other library  locations.

Pros:

  • Open 24/7
  • Has a café on the main floor

Cons:

  • Smaller than Thompson
  • Not as aesthetically pleasing (but who has time to look at anything apart from your textbooks anyway?)

2. Thompson Library

This is a favorite place for many students and with approximately 1,800 places to sit, it’s the largest of Ohio State’s 12 libraries. It also has rooms that you can book in advance for you to study with your friends. When inside, be sure to check out the 11th floor’s spectacular view!

*Tip: The Buckeye Grand Reading room is a popular spot, so make sure that once you nag a seat you stay there!

Pros:

  • Berry Café on the main floor
  • It’s an overall beautiful place

Cons:

  • It’s super easy to get distracted by people watching

3. Keith B. Key Center for Student Leadership and Service 

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This corner of the Union near the resource room is a great spot to study. A ton of student organizations have their offices in this area, and generally, it is one of the quieter areas of the Union.  There’s always stuff going on in the building, so you can grab a bite or see what’s going on around campus during your study breaks. In addition, if you ask the front desk within the resource room, you can rent out some of the office spaces in the leadership center for free.

Pros:

  • Access to food, social areas and many locations
  • Private study rooms may be available

Cons:

  • It’s easy to get distracted
  • Often busy

4. Orton Library

Orton Hall is the building with the famous bell tower.  Within the building is a hidden gem, the library on the first floor; it is very homey and has the coolest little nooks to work in. In addition, it’s pretty small and quiet, so you won’t have to fear as many distractions.

Pros:

  • Quiet and cozy

Cons:

  • No food
  • Small
  • Fewer outlets
  • Limited hours

5. Various tutoring centers on campus

This can really vary depending on your major and department and on your teacher. However, for those who are taking larger lecture classes (chemistry or math), these areas can be great resources where you can study and get help at the same time. They centers vary by location and specific hours, so make sure to check with your professors, TA’s and class resources to see if one is available for you.

Pros:

  • One-on-one help

Cons:

  • Dependent on class
  • Time restrictions
  • Often busy

For additional study spots and altered library hours check library.osu.edu. Happy studying and good luck with the rest of your finals!

Don’t Fear Finals: 5 Study Tips From an Upperclassman

Finals are one of those things you think you’ll never get use to while you’re in college. But after five semesters of college, I can honestly tell you that they get more manageable as time goes on. The first set may seem overwhelming now, but when you get a few under your belt you will realize that they aren’t as terrible as they might seem. For now, here are a few ways to make your life a little easier.

1. Ask questions and take advantage of office hours.

I never realized the benefit of going to office hours and asking questions until I actually went and tried it for myself. Most people don’t like to ask questions in front of a huge lecture hall (I know I don’t) and may leave a little unsure of the material. Professors love when students come to office hours and make an effort to understand their material. It shows that you are putting in the time to understand the course, and it really makes you stand out. Professors are great to work with one on one and are great resources if you are ever confused. It also helps to go straight to the source because nobody can understand a professor’s lecture better than the professor.

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2. Study a little bit each day.

Don’t procrastinate. If you start a few days in advance and study a little bit each day, it makes going through all of the material a little less overwhelming. I find it helpful to write in my planner specific things and times that I want to study each day. This helps me balance studying with all of the other things I have going on during the day. Also, I find it helpful to take short breaks while I am studying for extended periods of time. It gives my brain a chance to relax and regroup and helps me study more effectively for longer.

StudyFinals

3. Find a study spot that works best for you.

Everybody studies better in different places. Some prefer complete quiet, and others don’t mind studying around a lot of people, so find a place that suits you best and stick to it. I really enjoy sitting in front of the big fireplaces in the Union or finding a table in Thompson and camping out for a few hours. Finding a place where you are comfortable and can focus will be crucial to studying well.

Some popular study spots include:

  • 18th Ave Library
  • The Wexner Center for the Arts
  • Billy Ireland Cartoon Library
  • Geology Library in Orton Hall
  • Prior Health Sciences Library
  • RPAC
  • Residence Hall basements
  • Academic classrooms

4. Find a way to study that works for you.

Not all the same study habits work for the same people. Find what works best for you and run with it! You may find that what you have been doing all along can be better by adding in different study habits. Sometimes I color coordinate my notes with pens or highlighters to make the information clear and separate. Other times I will use Quizlet to create an online practice test switch it up (they also have an app that you can use on the go). Finding study methods that work for you will help you to understand the material faster and more thoroughly.

5. Take care of yourself.

I understand firsthand the effects that finals have on our schedules. It is easy to sacrifice sleep for a few extra hours of studying or to eat out all week for the sake of time. It is important to take care of your body during finals week so that you can stay healthy and on top of your game. Get good amounts of sleep and drink a lot of water! If you are going to order out, try to aim for a healthier alternative rather than the greasy foods that are high in fats and sugars. Maintaining a healthy body will help your brain be able to work more effectively while you study. After all, if you aren’t mentally present because you’re exhausted, then your ‘studying’ isn’t doing you much good anyway!

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So You’ve (Almost) Finished Your First Semester of College…

What next? 

Here are a few pointers to get you started on your break — don’t worry it involves a great deal of relaxing!

Look over your grades and make sure they are correct

Sometimes professors make mistakes, and if this happens, they want you to bring it to their attention. They want the most accurate grade for you.

Take a deep breath!

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth — you did it! Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back.

Check your schedule for next semester

Are you on a wait list? ​If so, contact the professor and check on availability. You may have to choose another class, so make sure you stay on top of that over winter break. The sooner you seek out a new class the better chance you have of finding one to fit your schedule.

Going home?

Safe travels! Something to keep in mind: last year I took clothes home and changed my wardrobe for the season!

Enjoy family time and hope for a white December!

Everyone do your snow day dance with your pajamas on inside out!

As you complete your first semester at Ohio State, you should be proud of yourself. Whether you had a rough first semester or a really good semester, you are done! Just remember: you are one semester closer to graduating.

Now you get a break — RELAX THE BRAIN!

The 16-Week-Long Emotional Roller Coaster

The transition into college life can be a stressful time, as there are plenty of changes that you go through. Many of the major transitions occurred within the first couple days: including doing your own laundry, getting your own meals, and being more independent overall.

The next set of transitions we all face our first semester deals with academics. Some of us may have never needed to study, others may need to alter their study habits to acclimate to the college workload. Regardless of the changes you have had to overcome, we all go through a similar roller coaster of emotions our first semester here.

WEEK 1:

The first week is full of nerves. It’s exciting to finally live by your own rules. This can also be terrifying.

You might have experienced a broad spectrum of emotions on move-in day. It might have been a little nerve-wracking making your way through all of the traffic and sitting in the car as you made the journey from the Schottenstein Center to your residence hall.

Your parents may have been a little on edge knowing that they only had a couple more hours before they would be saying goodbye for a while. You most likely hadn’t met your roommate before move-in day and that in and of itself can be nerve-wracking — you will be spending a year in close quarters with this stranger.

But the best thing about move-in day is that it marks the day you start making your own decisions about your daily routine. No one is there to tell you when to go to bed, nag you about studying, or tell you that you can’t stay out late. That’s pretty exciting!

The first week also features all of the Welcome Week activities Ohio State has to offer. There were tons of events to go to including the student involvement fair (and there will be another involvement fair next semester).

WEEKS 2-4:

During these weeks you start getting into a routine and classes seem manageable. But it’s easy to choose being social over being studious. A lot of us fall victim to procrastination and a false belief that college will be as easy as high school. You can always study tomorrow, right? (WRONG)

WEEKS 5-7:

Then, midterms hit! Going into your first midterm you might not realize if you need to change your study habits but after your first week of midterms it will become fairly clear.

If your study habits aren’t where you need them to be you can always go get help. The Dennis Learning Center  provides workshops to improve your test-taking, note-taking, and studying strategies, just to name a few. Another great resource is your professors’ office hours. Don’t be afraid to use these to your advantage! No one knows what you should be focusing on better than your professor or TA and it can’t hurt to stop in and be more than just a name on a roster.

WEEKS 8-13:

If you haven’t felt homesick yet you might start to now. All the newness of college life has worn off. You have fallen into a routine and survived your first set of midterms. If your midterms didn’t go as well as planned, you might be a tad stressed about the rest of the semester. If you are feeling stressed and want to talk to someone, the Office of Student Life offers Counseling and Consultation Services, and you can get up to 10 free sessions as a student at Ohio State.

Week 14:

Thanksgiving break is finally upon us! Not everyone goes home for Thanksgiving but for those who do it’s a nice break from college life. It’s nice to see family and beloved pets. Whether you go home or not, school is the last thing on anyone’s mind during this week.

Another thing to be excited about this week is that we play our rivals from the school up North on our home turf! #GoBucks

Week 15:

Thanksgiving break left us all with just a taste of what is to come in another two weeks. Winter break is extremely close, but we must first make it through the last week of classes and then finals. Studying is the last thing anyone wants to do. It’s cold outside, it’s the end of the semester, we just want a break.

Week 16:

The beginning of finals is upon us!

We have made it to the home stretch. Ohio State offers tons of opportunities to take some much-needed study breaks. Keep your eyes peeled for different ways to relax. In previous years they have had therapy dogs come to Thompson Library. What’s more perfect than playing with puppies?

Remember to use your resources while studying! Go to tutoring sessions, go to office hours, form study groups, and take breaks!

After finals, enjoy your break! You deserve it!

Tips to Help You Remain SANE in the Homestretch to Finals

We’re at that point in the year where we can see the end of school. Classes are finished in less than a month. But, we’re also at the point where it feels like every instructor is cramming in a million more group projects, papers, midterms, etc., even though finals are right around the corner. Here are some tips to help you remain sane through the end of April.

1. Get time away and/or alone

Make sure you take a few minutes for yourself to just walk around campus, get a coffee from Starbucks, or just enjoy the nice weather on one of those days when it decides to be 60+ outside.

2. Spend a short time doing something for pure fun

With all the hard work and stress that the next few weeks will bring, make sure you have time to reward yourself for your hard work. Whether you Skype with a distant friend, play some video games, or watch funny YouTube videos, just make sure you reward yourself.

3. Exercise

You may be thinking, “How am I supposed to have time to exercise when I have to study for five tests, write nine papers, and complete four group projects?” Trust me, even just a few minutes of exercise will make you feel so much better. If you want to exercise, but also want to accomplish something for school, bring your book or notes to the gym to study while you’re on the treadmill or while you’re biking. You will feel reenergized once you’re done. Even if it’s only for 20 minutes, try to get some exercise.

4. Attend an athletic event

Sometimes you just need to take a break completely from what you may be doing to get a new perspective or to get reenergized. A great way to do this is to attend an athletic event at Ohio State. There are baseball games, softball games, track meets, the football spring game (April 12; free to students), and many other athletic events that will occur during these last few weeks of school. I know the athletes would all love your support and it would be a great way to take a break from studying.

5. Make a list, write everything down

One suggestion to help you feel less overwhelmed these last few weeks is to make lists. This simple concept may sound silly, but it will make you feel better! Make lists of the things you have to do. As you complete them, make sure to cross them off on the list — you will feel great that you are accomplishing something, even if you have a million more things to do. At certain points, make sure you set rewards for completing so many things on the list. This will encourage you to continue to work hard and not get too frustrated.

If all else fails, make sure to breathe. We have roughly five weeks left (including finals). Just think: we are so close to summer. If you need an incentive to study hard for finals, just think about how great summer will be when you find out you got better grades than you thought because you studied so hard!