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How Can I Avoid End-Of-Term Crises?

Frankly, you never will avoid all of the crises, but keeping track of how you are doing in each of your classes from the start of the semester can save a lot of headaches as finals approach. As one of our students noted: "You have to be organized [in college] because they move so fast. You can't stop working because then you'll get so far behind so quickly---you won't be able to keep up. I just do everything that the professor says. I always check the syllabus. Do all the reading."

Grades you earn on initial assignments are good indicators of how you are doing. One student noted, "The hardest thing with college is the first test, because that tells you (about) the teacher—how the rest of the tests are going to be, and it kind of sets you up for the rest of the semester. So with the first test it's kind of like a starter for me."

Your understanding of the material presented in class and the instructor’s expectations also provide clues to what lies ahead. By the middle of the semester, if your performance is not as good as you would like, seek help--first from your instructor and then from one of the support services offered on campus, like the Learning Resource Center in Bayramian Hall.

Getting distracted is easy; staying focused is hard. But staying focused on coursework for a defined period may actually buy you more free time in the long run. Start by identifying those things that are hardest for you to resist, then devise ways of avoiding or minimizing them (e.g., turning off your cell phone while you are studying, letting your kid sister or brother know you'll help them later).

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