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Kelleen Cullison

Crunch Time

by Kelleen Cullison | Dec 05, 2016

As a first year student, the upcoming finals have me pretty stressed out. At least, they would if I wasn’t already stressed out about the two last minute papers and the presentation I was assigned. I’m learning it’s difficult to focus on a test that I have next week when I have a seven page paper due in three days.

Since I got here, college has been all about time management. Things don’t get too stressful if you manage your time. You can make time for everything if you manage it. I’m a structured person. I like living a structured lifestyle, but not everyone does. Until now, I’ve seen other people be able to fly by the seat of their pants, and now, they’re crashing and burning because they haven’t felt the need to put in an effort up until now.

It’s been my experience that college isn’t hard if you try. If you try and go to Study Tables if you need it, the Writing Center to check your papers, and put the effort into your homework during the regular year, you won’t need a crunch time. You’ll already know what you should know for the course, and so the final, while it may take some study, won’t take over your life.

And if you’re a last minute crunch time person, here are some tips to get it together fast:

  1. Know your limits.

If you know you can only focus for 20 minutes at a time, set aside all the time you need to take as many 20 minute study sessions as you have to to get the material down. Have to take a 10 minute break between each one? Even better. Recharge your brain. Eat something. Do something to recollect yourself.

  1. Eat right

    It sounds cheesy, but it really does help you. Stay hydrated, eat often and well. When your body isn’t hungry or thirsty, it’s one less distraction you have to deal with when trying to study.

  2. Find a method.

    Flashcards. Outlines. Personal study guides. Finding the key concepts. Find and know the methods that work for you before December, before you start college even. Knowing how to study beforehand will take some of the pressure off of you when it comes down to the week before finals.

  3. Do something that makes you happy

The percent of people who actually like to study is practically microscopic. You study because you HAVE to, because school is your job, and you should take pride in the work you put in (especially when you’re paying so much). But that can take a toll on people. Take some time for yourself. This isn’t the time to become a robot. Do stuff that makes you happy. Watch an episode of that show you were binge watching. Go for a pizza run (pizza is good for your mental health, and is therefore healthy, right?), go to the gym. You aren’t going to fail from a little fun. As long as you’re putting in as much time studying as you are having a good time (if not more), you’re okay.

Know yourself. Know your habits and how you procrastinate. The last month of the semester is not the time to suddenly take an interest in your grades (it won’t work out well for you, I guarantee it). Put in the time early on to learn how to study, to take an interest in your courses. That’s the best way to prepare for finals.


Kelleen Cullison ’20 is pursuing an English major and minors in Journalism and Peace Studies. She hopes to work as an editor for a publishing company, and hopes to help current and prospective Manchester students avoid the mistakes she is currently making.