Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finals and a future abroad

Finals can seem a scary thing. If midterms are difficult, then surely finals are a step up. And in a way, they can be. Yet there's a silver lining to it all: finals are a culmination of what you've been learning throughout a whole semester. You have work to do, yes, but you also have a lot of knowledge at your disposal. Finals are less about learning a whole bunch of new stuff and more about effectively applying what you already know. You've essentially been preparing for finals all semester, studying by attending class and (supposedly) doing your homework.

At Macalester, students are given roughly one entire week without classes. Aside from a "study day," this week is occupied by segments of time set aside for class finals. Often times students can have two finals in one day, or they may be spread out over three to four days. It's thus the responsibility of the student to work at their own pace and decide what they need to do, and how much time they need to commit, in order to get things done. Take out the time demands of classes and possibly your job, and you may actually find the week of finals to be the most relaxing you've yet had during the semester. The best strategy I've come up with for a rather lax finals week is simply one thing:

Do your essays early.

That's it. Get your final essays done early. Those papers take up so much time to get done (for me), so cranking them out early is a blessing. Sure, you can't have as much free time before finals, but it's worth it. No, really. It's worth it.

Also, unrelated to finals, I'm pleased to announce that I'll soon be traveling to Durban, South Africa for my study abroad experience. I can't really speak yet to what it will be like, but soon I will be - and you can hear for yourself! While I am away in Durban, I will be posting video blogs here about my experiences. You'll get to see what I'm seeing while I explain, perhaps in Blaire Witch style, what it's like as a native Nebraskan and Minnesotan living with a host family in eastern South Africa. Stay tuned!