When home is rife with distractions and finals are looming overhead, senior broadcast journalism major Justin Wheat finds studying solace at a quiet FedEx Kinkos workstation where he can sprawl his work out and organize his thoughts.
“I just get this little desk to myself. I don’t have to pay to be there. The Wi-Fi’s free,” Wheat said. “It’s 24 hours. I can go whenever I want, stay as long as I want.”
Kinkos may be just what some students need, as even some of the supposedly silent safe havens can sometimes be too loud for studying.
“If I go to the library, I use headphones to cancel out the noise because there are speaking floors,” said second-year linguistics graduate student Carla Chavarin. “The environment does have a huge impact on how you prepare for studying.”
When alone, silence, or at least less noise, can greatly benefit students by removing some of the greatest distractions that plague those trying to focus.
“I have to be by myself. I can’t study with groups, and I have to read to learn,” said second-year criminal justice major Arlette Sicairos.
Solitude may not work best for everyone though. Having friends or classmates to bounce ideas off of is a great way to get suggestions, and the Pollak Library has study rooms available for groups to reserve.
After finding a study space, it’ll finally be time to sit down and hit the books and junior geography major Joseph Weaver said the sooner the better.
“At least give yourself a week to study so you don’t have to cram it all,” Weaver said. “On one of my last tests, the teacher released the study guide like three days before the exam, and that drove me nuts.”
For students not fortunate enough to receive any study guides or help from professors, online resources are affordable alternatives.
Busy schedules don’t always align with a professor’s office hours, so when they are inaccessible, junior mechanical engineering major Hazim Alzahrani recommends websites like Khan Academy or YouTube for study help.
However, even with a surplus of resources, test preparation always comes down to organization and time management. Fourth-year criminal justice major Ashley Peed said committing to her tasks in her planner helps her follow through.
“I make sure that if I write down that I’m going to study, I have to do it,” Peed said.
While a physical list may be helpful, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and dedicate an excessive amount of time to a single task.
Junior health science major Jocelyn Estrada stressed the importance of maintaining a balanced life during finals week by not going overboard on any one aspect of a task list.
“Family is important, school is important, having a job is important,” Estrada said. “At the end of the day, everything needs a little bit of time from us in order to have a healthy lifestyle.”
When weeks (or days) of preparation finally culminate with hours-long tests, a reward is certainly in order.
“The day of the test I usually spoil myself,” said freshman political science major Doria Jalad. “I’ll get Starbucks and I’ll get a bagel to make sure I’m good foodwise, and then I should be confident enough to go and do good on my final.”