It took a couple of glances at the clock for the time to really sink in: 3 o'clock. A.M. And my project was finally finished. I sent it to the professor, slept for a few hours, and then had to get up for school.
And that night, I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. -- outlining notes on flashcards and reading the text from my psychology book for the last test of the semester.
The next night, midnight. And so it went on, and on, and on ... until finals week was finally over.
Now, I'm sure most of you are pretty much like, "Come on, Charlie. Finals aren't that bad; they're actually pretty easy."
Nay, my high school compadres. This is not high school. This is Early College.
For those of you that don't know, Early College is a high school program offered by NUAMES and other schools that allows qualified students to take actual college courses before they graduate. It's a little like taking AP classes -- except, you have to pass the course to get the college credit, and those grades you earn in Early College will remain on your academic transcript.
So, since I plan on becoming an official pre-med student in the fall, I needed to get fantastic grades.
Problem was, I had a 40-slide "essay" Powerpoint to do that counted for nearly a fourth of my entire grade AND I had to study for the final test -- about 100 or more pages of reading and memorizing, no big deal -- that, likewise, was a fourth of my final grade. I also had to read an entire book, then compose an essay and present it. And that's only two college classes.
Add in the fact that I'm also taking five other high school classes at the same time, and you've got why some people call the week of finals "Dead Week."
And Dead Week, it was.
I'm pretty sure I resembled some kind of disheveled zombie that week. But, I made it through Dead Week. I'd lived! And I did excellent in both my classes (thanks for asking), even though I felt like I was going to just pass out in relief after the last test was taken.
Now I've learned a few things about this dreaded week, and the work that accompanies it -- if you want to do well, that is. So for all you seniors about to become official college students in the fall, you might wanna perk up to these.
1. Don't put off assignments. I'd put off reading my book for my second class when I had the chances to, and I regretted doing that in finals week, because not only did I have to read an entire book, I also had other huge projects to do to pass the other classes. Believe me, the homework piles up fast -- especially with seven classes. So, word of advice: Just do your assignments when you can. Do it after you get the assignment, get it over with, and be sure to space out assignments a little so you don't feel bogged down.
2. Take things one step at a time. The homework piles up fast, and you will be discouraged. But just take a deep breath, and do the assignments. For me, I did the harder ones first -- that way, after I got the most difficult ones out of the way, it just seemed to get easier and easier.
3. Exercise actually helps. This might sound counterintuitive, with how many assignments you'll get and taking time away from them to work out, but I was actually able to concentrate much better after I'd exercised during the day. And, better concentration meant the assignments got done faster.
And, finally, caffeine really is your best friend during Dead Week. It's almost magical, how much it helps you.
That's it, folks. Live by those rules, and you'll be ready for your finals weeks in college. As for me, I'm taking college classes this summer, and I'm pretty sure these finals will be easier to get through.
But you never know. ... I'm already stocking up on the caffeine, just in case.
Charlie Anderson is a senior at NUAMES. She loves fall, French and random facts. Did you know elephants can't jump? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.SClB