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The Introvert’s Guide to Getting Through Finals (with most of your sanity still intact)

So, if any of you have been paying attention, you’ll notice I’ve been absent for a while. That’s because I was getting ready for finals.

The Introverts guide to the Hunger Game... I mean, finals.
This is how finals feels for all of us…

Two 10+ page research papers, one 150 points project, 1 final performance, 1 vocal test, and my end of the year evaluations. That’s a lot to do for any theatre major. Especially papers; we’re not in a field that demands a lot of paper work, so when it comes up, it’s a bit overwhelming.

Needless to say, I couldn’t really do anything super productive in the small amount of down time I had. I was too exhausted to do anything but watch movies and YouTube, which was frustrating in it’s own right. I’m itching to get back to my writing and drawing because I haven’t made progress in either category.

But I have some good news! Yesterday was my last final! I’m through and I’m still mostly sane! Not completely sane because I didn’t get to do any personal writing or drawing for a month, but half sane is better than nothing!

So how do introverts get through finals with at least 50 percent of their sanity still intact? Well, this is how I did it. Keep in mind, this worked for me, but it may not work for you. These are simply suggestions to try and see if they work for you. If they don’t work, don’t sweat it! You know more about yourself and you can start coming up with your own Finals system:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute to do it all.

This is kind of a given by the time you get to college, but it bears repeating. If I had tried to do all of that stuff I mentioned the day before they were all due, I guarantee you I would be dead. Now, I lucked out and got two teachers teaching three of my classes who set deadlines for certain parts of the papers or projects to be done in increments. This made staying caught up easy. By the end, all I had to do was combine all the pieces of information I had gathered and put them all together in my papers. If you don’t have a teacher who does this for papers or projects, set deadlines for yourself. They can be daily, weekly, or monthly, but do it. You’ll thank yourselves later.

2. Pick the Lock, Don’t Look at the Dogs.

Why am I quoting Magnum PI? This is the advice my mom gives me every year before finals. For those who haven’t seen the movie and don’t get what I mean, here’s the gist; focus on the work, not on the deadline. Don’t think about how whatever is due next week or next month or even tomorrow. Just focus on the work. Worrying about the time won’t help. Now for me, this is easy; I lose track of time all the time. For other people, it’s not so easy. If you’re someone who looks at the time religiously, take the time away from you. Cover up all the clocks in your place and don’t have your phone nearby. Trust yourself to get your project done on time.

3. Eat the Biggest Toad First.

It means work on the toughest thing first. If you’ve got a ten page paper and a five page paper due at the same time, work on the ten page one first. If you have a 100 point project and a 500 point project due on the same day, work on the 500 point project first.

4. Focus on 10 feet past the finish line.

Anyone who has been in track and field will know that coaches tell runners to focus on an area past the finish line, rather than the finish line itself. If you focus on the end point, you’ll slow down before you get there. Same rule applies to finals. Even if your last final is on a Wednesday, focus on Friday of finals week. That way, you’ll still be giving it your all for that last final rather than giving up just before hand.

5. All-nighters won’t necessarily help you.

Some people can do great work by pulling all-nighters. Some people do acceptable work. Other people can’t do any work at all. I’m part of the last category, along with most other introverts. Hell, I still have a bed time because when I don’t get sleep, I get cranky and lazy. If you’re a great all-night worker, go for it. If not, don’t demand that from yourself. You’ll just be tired and disappointed in yourself. Besides, sleep is good for you.

6. Comparison is the Thief of Joy.

This is just a good life rule. Stop comparing yourself to others. You will just feel bad for all the hard work you put in, and you may end up thinking negative thoughts about the person you’re comparing yourself to. That big project I told you all about? We had to create an informational website. I was pretty proud of my website because it looked clean and well put together. The girl next to me had an AMAZING website. It was interactive and came with music and everything. I could’ve compared myself to her and felt bad about all my work. Instead, I enjoyed her website without putting it along side mine. She wasn’t better. We were just different. And honestly, the subject of my website didn’t warrant such a spectacle. It just wouldn’t have fit. Meanwhile, her subject went perfectly with the spectacle.

7. Do SOMETHING to take a break.

Just like normal people can’t work a twenty-four hour day, you can’t work on homework and school all day long. Do something to relax and recuperate. You may not be able to be productive in your own personal projects – I know I wasn’t – but do something. Like I said, I watched movies and Youtube. Find something that allows you to rest. After all, for introverts, recharging time is very important in order for us to function on a daily basis.

This is one of my favorite sites to hit for a study break. It’s especially great for artistic introverts: http://weavesilk.com/

8. Reward yourself.

Never underestimate the power of rewards; they can do amazing things. First, I rewarded myself with a couple glasses of delicious mimosa. Today, me and my friends are going to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 for our big end of finals reward. You can reward yourself alone or with selective social time with people who don’t wear on your introvert battery, but do something to reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done all year. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re rewarding yourself wrong. If your reward for yourself is staying at home in your pajamas, doing nothing all day, do it! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for that. It’s your reward, not theirs.

9. When it comes to tests, go with your instincts.

Now, I’ll grant you all; I had only one legitimate final test. Out of the two hours allotted for the test time, I took thirty minutes to finish the whole test and there was only one question where I wasn’t 100 percent positive on what the right answer was. Even so, I trusted my instincts and chose an answer. Don’t doubt yourself. Go with your instincts. You’ve got this and you know what you’re doing.

10. Don’t be afraid.

For a lot of people, this is a scary time. Most people aren’t afraid of the finals tests, papers, and projects themselves. Most people are more afraid of the word “graduation”. I’m in a situation where all of my good friends are graduating while I have at least one more semester to go. If your friends are graduating and you’re staying behind, don’t be afraid. You’re not a failure for not being done as soon as everyone else. You are not alone. Everyone does everything at their own pace. Be kind to yourself, for you will succeed in your own time. If you’re losing your friends, don’t worry. You will find new ones. There are always going to be new people that you jive with, so you won’t be alone.

However, if you’re the one who is graduating, don’t be afraid. I know the world is big and scary. You have to go out and talk to people to find a new place to live and a job to adult at. That’s frightening, but you can do it! That’s why you went to college. So that you could be ready for the real adult world. But most of all, so that you can achieve your goals. You’ve got this.

Are you an introvert dealing with your own set of finals? What do you do to cope with the stress/pressure? How do you wind down/relax? Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Viveca Shearin

 

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The Introvert’s Guide to Getting Through Finals (with most of your sanity still intact)