Finals schedule

Planning during finals is critical to getting good grades and being prepared for your finals. Now, I’m crazy and have to have things planned out in detail. A lot of students I know don’t plan out the studying specifically but instead say “ok I have X exam in 2 days. I’ll study for X exam for the next 2 days.” It’s a perfectly fine method to studying and I know a lot of students who are successful using that method. I am not one of those students.

My finals planning starts the week before finals. I create a study plan that breaks down my time into studying, relaxing, taking care of life, etc. and it’s fairly concrete. I have lots of different calendars that I use to keep my life organized and they all overlap on my google calendar. My productivity (light blue) calendar is key to planning each week, but especially during finals. I also have my non-negotiables (red), workouts (yellow), and random other things in various colors.

Finals schedule

My calendar has a lot of red and light blue for this week. In my productivity calendar, I make sure to block out at least 2 hours for studying. For me, anything less than 2 hours isn’t enough time for me to get settled, start studying, and actually understand the material. I try to set 3 hour blocks when I can but I need my breaks, too.

I’m terrible with studying at home. I have Patrick, the dogs, Netflix…the distractions are endless. While I will study at home for a good chunk of finals, I’ll eventually run into things that need my full, undivided attention. During finals week, I make sure to schedule in plenty of time to study at school or at a local Starbucks. Luckily, I live far enough off campus they aren’t overrun by college students. It’s a nice change of venue (haha, legal jokes) too so it makes it easier to focus.

This week, I work twice and have three exams: Adoption, Immigration, and Admin law. I know going into the week that my Adoption and Admin exams are closed book and my Immigration exam is open everything, except the internet. I also have a paper due next Monday. With that information, I can start planning what I’m going to study in a general sense. Obviously, I want to study Adoption first and make sure I have a firm grasp on that subject before I move on. With Immigration, I know I need to take an hour and print everything we’ve gone over and compile my notes. For Admin, I need to focus on running through practice problems and creating an outline I can use for those practice problems. My Crim Pro paper on Monday is a 15 page maximum, so it should take me roughly 6 hours with research and writing.

With all that knowledge, I can plan out exactly what I should study when. I never plan what I study in certain blocks but I do plan overall how long I think studying will be for each class. I’m estimating 4 hours for Adoption, 3 for Immigration, and 7-8 for Admin law. Having estimations in mind help me figure out how many breaks I can take and how late I have to study each night. Now, it’s a matter of putting all this into action and studying for my finals!

Finals Lonliness

I’m an alone studier. I don’t like studying in groups; I always just want to sit and gossip. So when finals come around, friends can be difficult to find. During the semester, I have plenty of friends that I hang out with on a regular basis. With everyone so stressed out about finals and the end of the semester, law students tend to either group together to study or spread out and be antisocial.

It’s really difficult to find people who understand what it’s like to be preparing for a three hour, non-stop, exam on a huge topic and be expected to know everything about it. Who else understands that? Other law students. Who’s busy studying for finals and being stressed out? Other law students.

For me, it’s simple. Non-law students don’t understand what it’s like to prepare for law exams just like I don’t understand what it’s like for Patrick to prepare for his engineering exams. I think the thing with undergrad is that you can all relate to having that one difficult class (or two or three) and having to study non-stop for that exam. I remember that from undergrad very clearly. Law exams are so different. Three (sometimes more or less depending on the class) hour exams of non-stop writing and applying laws to different situations. There’s outlines to write, hypos to do, practice exams to get through, sometimes more depending on the class. It’s a longer studying process and for me at least it’s more work.

It really sucks not having anyone to turn to while you’re stressed because it’s hard for other people to understand. “Take a break” or “Don’t worry you’ll do great” doesn’t matter anymore because there is so much pressure on the exams being a huge chunk, if not all, of your grade. It’s hard to not get lonely during exams if you’re a lone studier like me. I will literally see only Patrick for the next three weeks unless I’m at an exam, where we can’t talk anyway. The good part about finals loneliness is it’s only a few weeks and you’re back to normal!

Burn Out

I’ve reached the point in the semester where I am officially burned out. I’m not one to burn out easily but this semester has been a challenge in some respects. Now that I’m almost done and have just two days of class and finals left, I can’t wait to be done and get to sleep in and relax. 

I have no motivation to do anything I need to get done; not outlining, my CV, hypos, nothing. I just want to sleep and watch Netflix. It’s been four months of near non-stop work and a break will be so so nice. I just have to push through the next two weeks and I can finally take a break. Hopefully, I can find some motivation. 

What like it’s hard?

I am all over Legally Blonde quotes lately. Maybe it was the recent visit with my sorority sisters or maybe I’m just due to watch the movie again, but it’s happening. 

I guess we’ve hit the point in the semester where I’m supposed to start panicking? I’m not completely sure if that’s true but according to everyone, professors, students, etc. I should be freaking out over finals. Yet, I’m not. I’m not even a little. My first final is in just over a month and while I’m nervous because it’s a closed book final, I’m just not stressed out about any of this. I’m not worried about passing finals or doing well, I know I can do well. I’m finishing my final paper for a class today and then there is only 4 classes I need to worry about. For some reason, I don’t think 4 classes and 4 finals will be that difficult. Ok, yes my civ pro professor is cutting us slack so we have a take home exam but I’m still not worried about any exams. I’ve kept up on my notes (or caught up depending on the class) and I’m fairly confident in my ability to get my outlines done within the next week. Maybe it’s because I took 21+ credits every semester of undergrad but the pressure just hasn’t gotten to me yet. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have a TON of work to get done. Outlines, reading, hypos, classes, plus everything else that’s on my personal to do list but I just don’t feel stressed out about anything. I have a paper due tomorrow, reading for Monday, outlines by Friday. I just prioritize and get it done? It’s worked thus far and I’m at the middle, if not higher, of my class. 

Maybe I’m overconfident and I’ll completely freak out soon. I don’t know but for right now, it just doesn’t seem that stressful or overwhelming. Here’s to hoping that feeling lasts!