Finishing the Race - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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December 12, 2018

Finishing the Race

It’s 6:30 a.m. and my alarm rings out its dreadful tune. I regretfully poke my head out of my nice warm bedcovers and peek out the window – the cars in the parking lot are covered in a white winter blanket. I can only imagine the sidewalk must be slick with ice, and before I know it I’m sinking back down into my cozy warm cocoon, not wanting to face the day.

Dare I brave the treacherous winter cold, or do I skip class and go back to sleep? 

Such is the question of the tired college student just returned from Thanksgiving break, as the threat of last minute papers, class presentations, and final exams looms over our heads. In the midst of the winter chill and the end of the year stress, it can be challenging to motivate ourselves to finish out the semester strong. However, Isaiah 40:31 says that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”. If we have faith that God will give us the motivation to face the challenges of these next few weeks, we can tackle those papers and finals head on.

With that knowledge before us, here are some helpful tips for finishing the semester race:

  • Get as much sleep as possible. This is an obvious one, and some of you may even be thinking “that’s all well and good, but there’s no time for sleep!” Sometimes during the last stretch of the semester, homework takes precedence and we tell ourselves that sleep simply isn’t due the next day. That’s OK. However, try to get the zzzz’s as much as possible. If you’re deciding between staying up to watch Netflix with your roommate and getting an extra two hours of sleep, choose the sleep. It’s important you feel as rested as possible for finals.
  • Stay hydrated. Stress affects all of us differently, and while for some it energizes the body and protects us from illness, for others it weakens the immune system. Add the incoming winter weather, sleep deprivation, and close living quarters of college and you have a recipe for sickness on your hands. To prevent getting a pesky cold, drink lots of water and take your vitamin C. Now is the time to be staying hydrated…even if it means running to the restroom after each class.
  • Go to all your classes. While this is something you should try to do throughout the semester, it is imperative these last couple weeks that you get your attendance points. Often, professors give out important information concerning final papers or exams that you really don’t want to miss. Even if that information simply consists of helpful study tips, don’t turn your nose up. Those will come in handy as you flip through your notes preparing for those dreaded comprehensive exams.
  • Take a mental break now and then. Studying non-stop right up until an exam is not always helpful. Set a timer on your watch, put your phone out of reach to avoid distractions, and study hard for that set amount of time. When the time is up, put your books away and take a 10-15 minute break. Your brain will thank you. Try also to do something relaxing before bed. Studies show that cramming your brain with information right up until the moment you close your eyes at night often impedes memory recall.
  • Try to have some fun these last few weeks. After all, it’s almost Christmas! Take part in your dorm hall activities and other events happening around campus- they may serve as great study breaks, and remind you why you love college in the first place (because let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to remember why we chose education when we’re running on empty). Eat those Christmas cookies and jam out to the festive music; the holiday season only lasts for a short while.

One day we’re gonna look back and wonder how our college years flew by so fast, so make the most of these final weeks. And remember that no matter what your final grade is, your identity is not found in your class-room performance, but in Christ.

Happy studying everyone!

-Emily Walker ‘20

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash