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7 Ways to Finish Strong This Semester

November 18, 2019

Written by Grace McCready, ’21

It feels like years ago that the fall semester began! Do you remember the excitement of returning
to campus? Once November hits, I think most of us have lost that excitement. Instead of feeling
energized, we feel like we’re losing our energy—and our motivation.

If you’re looking for something to help you finish the semester strong, here are a few ideas:

1. Pray.
God isn’t oblivious to the stress you feel and the anxiety you have. He knows if you feel burnt
out or exhausted or worried. That’s exactly why we need to turn to Him in prayer. He wants us to
bring our burdens—even academic burdens—to Him.

2. Read Scripture.
If you need a boost of encouragement, focus on God’s promises to you. He is still in control,
even when you’re taking the hardest test or writing the longest paper. Reading His Word is so
important, no matter how busy you are. A few great passages for encouragement are Joshua 1:7-
9, Psalm 46:1-3, and Isaiah 43:1-7.

3. Find a change of scenery.
Your dorm room might feel like a prison cell at this point in the semester, which I understand. If
that’s the case, try studying somewhere else. Sit in a new section of the library, meet your study
group in the Prideland Grill, or do your homework in a dorm lounge. Now is the time to
experiment!

4. Keep connecting with others.
When I feel overwhelmed and exhausted, I really don’t feel like being around other people.
Instead, I’m tempted to isolate myself in my dorm room. As hard as it is to admit, that’s not
really what I need. If you can relate, remember that frequent isolation is unwise and that solid
friendships can actually help you finish well this semester.

5. Put away distractions when studying.
For college students, the biggest distraction is usually our phones. With notifications constantly
popping up, it’s not surprising that we can’t be productive with our phones beside us. During
your study time, put your phone somewhere else, like in a drawer. It’ll help your study time be
more focused.

6. Prepare ahead of time, if possible.
Not all assignments can be done far in advance, I realize. However, don’t ignore assignments
that you know are approaching in a couple weeks. Instead, get a jump start on them! You’ll
probably feel better once you start them, and you’ll be less stressed later on.

7. Unwind.

I understand if it’s hard to find time to unwind with all the assignments and exams approaching.
However, the benefits of unwinding are worth it. Setting aside enough time to rest (physically
and spiritually) may seem impossible with the number of tasks you have to do. Nevertheless, you
can’t thrive physically without physical rest; and you can’t thrive spiritually without spiritual
rest.

Friend, you can do this! You can finish strong this semester! It won’t be long before the end of
the semester. Until then, pray, read Scripture, find a change of scenery, keep connecting with
others, put away distractions when studying, prepare ahead of time, and unwind.

Check out more of Grace’s writing at her blog!