Finals time is generally a source of anxiety for many students. It’s where the rubber meets the road and all the work we have done all term is put to the test… and graded! But there are a few things that we can do as we prepare to enter into finals season that can help eliminate stress, increase our grades, and most importantly to become formed into the likeness of Christ. So here is the beginnings of a list of best practices for finals time:
Plan ahead. This is the obvious one. Yet many of us will often times work on our final assignments based on when they are due. This is not so much a plan as a response to the clock. A good finals plan takes into account what is necessary to achieve the grade we are striving for, what will be the most formative, and how much time those activities will take. A much better approach would be to make a list of all your assignments and prioritize them according to what is important to you. Then block out time on your calendar to work on them.
Sabbath. For many people finals is a dead sprint that is nonstop for a few weeks. But we all know that there is no way any of us can do our best work towards the end of that sprint. And this is when it counts the most! Stopping, resting, worshipping, and rejuvenating is a not just a part of the Christian disciplines, but it is intended to keep us sane, to point us back to what matters most, and to restore our ability to worship with our work. For some of you this means close your books and go out with your friends or hang out with your family. For some of you this means read something that isn’t required. We all need to stop, to worship, and to pray without our tests so that we can worship in our studies as well. This requires us to take a break.
Practice gratitude. At three in the morning with two pots of coffee in you and only half a paper written you can quickly forget that you are studying the most wonderful subject in existence. Not to mention we get to study Him in a community that exists on a high academic level, with resources and thinkers surrounding us that many Christians all over the world would beg to have available to them. We also can be thankful that we are not loved or called by God any less if we get a mediocre grade on our Greek final! The truth is we have much to thank God for and to rejoice about when we approach finals week at seminary. Of course, you actually begin to feel your perspective when you express it in prayer and to those around you. Go tell someone you are stressed, but tell them what you are thankful for as well.
Do any of these work well for you?
How else can we stay sane during finals at seminary?