The last lap is the longest

Dylan Doyle

Column by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer

April is an interesting month here at scenic Murray State – spring is in the air, flowers and trees are coming back to life after our balmy winter and the stairs of Lovett Auditorium are silent after weeks of  All Campus Sing practice.

Or are we supposed to call it All Campus Give now? Maybe I am just a jaded junior at this point, but I’m old enough to remember when the university did not go out of its way to step on Sigma Alpha Iota’s biggest philanthropy event of the year – but I digress.

What is most interesting about April, though, is the annual zombie virus outbreak. You have probably seen them napping upstairs in Waterfield or shuffling to class throwing back cups of coffee (at least, you hope it’s coffee) to make it through the day – we call these specimens “students taking more than 15 credit hours.”

The pile of color-coded notebooks and neatly-arranged flashcards you started in January has somehow devolved into a cesspool of ripped quizzes, outdated study guides and Skittles wrappers. At the beginning of the semester, you couldn’t listen to a lecture without three different highlighters on standby. Now, you are dangerously close to taking notes on a McDonald’s napkin and going to bed before sunset. What’s a student to do?

First, remember your situation is universal – every student, professor and university administrator is feeling the burnout this time of year. We are all exhausted, stressed and working on a million projects and papers due in three hours. You are not alone in your struggle, and that is a good thing. This is the part of the semester when your study groups become crucial. Keep each other motivated.

Psychological studies conducted at institutions of higher learning across the country have confirmed the end of the semester brings about a drop in student motivation, which can hurt the grade you have worked hard for since January. However, they also confirm smart study habits can combat this burnout.

Remember not to study for hours at a time – study for 15 minutes or so, and take five minutes off. Rinse and repeat.

I know the last thing you want to do these next few weeks is worry about finals, but now is the time to begin your preparation in earnest. Study for final exams in short chunks once or twice per day, and start now. Cramming is bad for your mental state, but it is even worse for your grades.

The fact is, you have made it this far, and only a month or so remains. Save the relaxation for summer and set yourself up for success when Finals Week gets here. Remember the words of the Indian philosopher Nisargadatta Maharaj: “All you need is already within you.”