Spring Fever vs. Finals: The Ultimate Struggle
I had been warned prior to spring break: once spring hits, it’s hard to convince yourself to stay focused and do work. But I thought I would be above that, great at prioritizing and scheduling and keeping myself from being tempted and distracted by all the incredible weather and events that spring brings to Vanderbilt. Well, almost two beautiful months later and I can retrospectively admit that I was wrong. I did, however, put up a somewhat futile effort to remain focused on my schoolwork and, in doing so, I found some great places and figured out some good advice that I’ll now share with y’all.
CHANGE UP THE STUDY SPACES. I have learned pretty quickly this year that I need to find places to study besides my room and the study room on my hall. There are too many temptations: my bed, my friends, cleaning my room to procrastinate… you name it. So I’ve done a lot of exploring campus in search of some reliable study nooks, especially in the last month or so with finals starting last week. Here are some favorites:
- Alumni Hall: located on main campus and newly renovated, Alumni Hall is beautiful and has a lot of natural light and a bunch of good, open study rooms. Since it’s new this year after the renovations, it hasn’t been as crowded as I expected. Also, Bamboo Bistro is in Alumni and it’s pretty great.
- Upstairs Commons: the Commons Center is the hub for first-year students on Peabody Campus and the upstairs dining room is usually quieter, is open all night, and is very close-by my dorm, aka super convenient for late night studying. Also you can grab a meal or a snack at Munchie or at Commons if it’s still open (until 8pm).
- Central Library Reading Rooms: OK, this is the main library on main campus, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But the sixth and eighth floor reading rooms get crowded pretty quickly, so the second floor Divinity Library floor has nice desks and the fourth floor open reading/lecture room is usually pretty empty, light and quiet (and right across from Food For Thought Cafe!).
- BioMed: Rhis library is great! It may seem intimidating at first, but it is so light and airy, so quiet and really nice. It’s in the Med Center area so it’s close to Commons and is a great change of pace.
Those are just some of my favorites, but I’ve found so many other good places to study. And it definitely depends on what kind of person you are and finding the right balance of loud and quiet and open and secluded for you. Godspeed, my friends—the exploring is the fun part.
DO NOT LIE TO YOURSELF. Let’s be real. There are two main lies everyone tells themselves while studying for spring semester finals.
1. I can study outside productively. WRONG. For every one person who can study productively outside on the lawn (kudos people), there are 99 who can’t (I am definitely in this group.) The trees are beautiful, the sun makes you tired and 20 of your friends walk by in an hour, forcing you to stop to say hi and talk with them. Give it up and use your time on the lawn for a study break.
On that note, 2. I don’t need a study break. I’ll just wait until after my exam. Or, alternatively, I’ll just watch one episode of “House” on Netflix and get back to studying (Guilty. Sorry, Mom. I’m trying here.) You do need a study break, but Netflix marathons are not the way to go. Take a walk, talk with a friend, call your sister, go for a run, pack your room, grab a meal off campus, watch a movie at night or something. But make it something that will be actually relaxing (not a break of chemistry to study Spanish), and make sure you get back to studying before Dr. House kicks his Vicodin addiction (for non-watchers, that basically means sooner rather than later.)
FIND/MAKE FRIENDS IN YOUR CLASS. Maybe you missed a lecture. Maybe you don’t understand the textbook’s explanation of a formula. Maybe you just can’t read your notes from the review session. Whatever it is, having a friend you can study with or text while studying with any questions is super helpful. Plus it can’t hurt to make a friend. (Shameless plug, we’re all really friendly and want to be your friend.)
And lastly, DO NOT STRESS TOO MUCH. Some stress is healthy and realistic, but take a step back and realize that in the long run this exam will most likely not make or break your life. Take time to say goodbye and spend time with your friends, and please keep your sanity.
I don’t know about y’all, but I have 2 exams down and 2 to go and it hasn’t been that bad. Professors want to help you, and spring at Vanderbilt is so exciting, beautiful and fun that even studying for finals is not too bad since the breaks are always rewarding. I cannot believe I’ll be leaving for summer in just a few days, but I’m trying to take advantage of Vanderbilt and Nashville while I’m still here. To my fellow VU students, Anchor Down, you’re so close! And to the Class of 2018 and beyond: happy spring!