All posts by Elizabeth Bell

Seven Survival Strategies for Surviving Finals Week

We all know the struggle that life becomes during finals week. The hectic, crazy, chaotic mess of way too much to do, with far too little sleep on top of a malnourished diet proves to be a feat to tackle each and every semester. As a 26 year-old undergrad who has been taking classes since fall of 06, I’ve come up with some strategies that I use to help me make it through.

1. Get organized. It is absolutely essential for me to create several lists of work to be completed and determine based on due dates and personal interest the order of which I will start crossing things out. I have to see the big picture and devise a solid plan in order to not feel to overwhelmed to do anything.

FinalsSS-organization

2. Breaks. Study breaks are necessary. Regardless of how you spend your breaks, they are important to take. Sometimes the best ideas come to us when we remove ourselves from the situation and are doing some other mindless thing. It is also important to plan study breaks from which you can easily return to work from.

3. Eat. Your brain cannot function without carbohydrates. It is hard to maintain a well-balanced diet through the stress of a crazy finals week, especially when you’re broke! But making sure you’re getting nutrients to your brain is a must!

FinalsSS-nourishment

4. Exercise. I am a runner. I have to move my body and expel some energy in order to be able to sit and focus on work later. If you regularly exercise, it is important to keep to your routine, even if you’re feeling you don’t have the time, just do a short run or gym session. Our bodies need what they’re used to.

5. Incentives! Ahh, my favorite. You must reward yourself, and give yourself incentives for various tasks in order to make it through the big picture work. Mine looks something like, if I finish the body of this paper I get a glass of wine*. If I finish the paper, I get a glass of wine and an entire bag of Totino’s Pizza Rolls. So don’t forget to give yourself treats, you’re earning them!

FinalsSS-incentives

6. Fluid intake. You must drink water! There is so much to do and on little sleep. Keeping up on water intake is vital for staying healthy throughout finals week. Not to mention, if you drink as much caffeine as I do, water is important to balance the anti-diuretic-ness.

7. Jams. The right music is a must for me making it through finals week. I like to have a private dance party around my apartment with my ear buds in, blaring so loud I’m sure that when I’m 65 I will no longer be able to hear certain frequencies. I need certain pump-me-up jams at times to make it through. It has also been proven that listening to jazz or classical music while studying is more effective than studying with any other type or music or without music at all.

Good luck to you all this finals week! I hope some of these strategies will help you survive!

*Drink responsibly.

The Semicolon: Most Feared Punctuation on Earth!

The Oatmeal created one of the greatest posters ever on how to use a semicolon. I sat directly in front of this poster for the entire semester I took WRA 202 (Professional Writing course) and looking at and reading it all semester totally increased my confidence in using the semicolon. I am now a semicolon fanatic! I love the comic style formatting The Oatmeal used to describe appropriate use of “the most feared punctuation on earth”. They documented these rules in a way that is not only interesting to read through, but sticks with the reader in a way they will always remember. So take a look at the poster, and below I’ve highlighted some of the points.

Oatmeal Semicolon

The most common way to utilize the semicolon is to connect two independent clauses. The two statements read aloud with a period have a greater break between them – one would take a breath between the two if this were the case, but would not if the a semicolon was substituted for the period.

  • If you have two independent clauses, meaning each could stand alone as their own sentences, it is then, okay , to use a semicolon.
  • You should use a semicolon when you want to form a bond between two statements, typically when they are related to or in contrast with one another.
  • DON’T use a semicolon with conjunctions. (Conjunctions are words like: and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet.) Commas are used in these situations.
  • Pause factor: Comma – brief pause, Semicolon – moderate pause, Period – complete stop.
  • Use a semicolon to connect sentences that contain internal punctuation.
  • Use a semicolon as a super-comma: if you need to make a list of items that are separated with a comma. Often occurs when listing names, dates, and descriptions.

Check out the poster for memorable examples of these key concepts to remember when using the semicolon. The Oatmeal really did a solid job when explaining when to use and not use the semicolon.

Jam of the Week – World So Cold

http://youtu.be/RhOQb-hrgpk

“World So Cold” by Three Days Grace seems like a very appropriate choice to kick off the Jam of the Week with this semester. In my quarter-century as a Michigan native, I don’t recall ever having experienced a winter so brutal. Ice storm, blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, one MSU snow day and two delays- this combination hurts the soul. It makes going to class and getting work done for school that much more difficult. So, in a song with lyrics clearly written about losing someone dear, I hear the lyrics and think of the sun and how much I miss it. While I’m pumped we’ve survived January, I fear we have a great deal of winter left to withstand. In the meantime, jam to “World So Cold” – then come on into the WC and warm up with some hot coffee while having your paper consulted by one of our many wonderful and capable writing consultants.