Getting ready for the final academic stretch

Low angle closeup view of female hands writing in notebook at home.

It is that time of the year again, the last term and final semester is fast approaching and students across all grades and institutions are most likely feeling the crunch and pressure closing in. According to an education expert, feelings of fatigue, lack of motivation, and low levels of concentration are normal. It is possible and important to overcome them as this is a time when students cannot afford to lose momentum.

Dr Rufaro Mavunga from the Independent Institute of Education has the following tips that will assist overwhelmed students and learners as they push through the final stretch of their academic year, in their fight to beat the “year-end fatigue”.

Dr Rufaro Mavunga, Senior Head of Programme at The Independent Institute of Education. PHOTO: Supplied

“The coming weeks are going to be a test of their focus, strength, and endurance as they aim for top marks. Yet at the same time, they [students and learners] have to contend with the fatigue that has most likely set in after all their hard work during the past year. But by reframing their mindset and ensuring they stick to some tried and tested guidelines, they can all dive into the last quarter of 2022 with renewed enthusiasm to ensure they finish the year strong,” she says.

  1. Take some time off

This may sound counter-productive, but it can help to take a day or two to regain your focus without feeling guilty. Get your mind in the right place, and resolve to start the final stretch with vigour. Also use this time to lay out your schedule and plans for the coming weeks, right until you’ve put down your pen in your last exam.

  1. Revisit your study timetable and manage your time efficiently

To finish strong, you need to continue with regular study sessions every week till the end of your exams. Do not count on doing an all-nighter just before you write an assessment. Plan for enough time to study each module and add your study sessions to your calendar like any other commitments. Bear in mind a study plan works best when it is followed consistently. It is imperative that you stick to your plan, as this will ease tension and anxiety if you can see your consistent progress.

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Exercise has many benefits, but it has been proven that exercise releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Fatigue and tiredness could also be an effect of a lack of proper nutrition. Make healthy meal selections wherever possible and consume lots of water. Stay away from activities that are going to tire you out for days to come and keep a single-minded focus on your priorities right now. This too shall pass, and you’ll be happy you stayed true to yourself when results day comes.

  1. Get help if you need it

Consult school or campus support staff to gain different perspectives on how to ease the fatigue and to get over negative feelings you may have. If you need additional assistance with the academic side of things, approach a teacher or a lecturer for guidance. If you need additional emotional support, ask trusted adults at home or at your institution to assist in getting the support you need.

  1. Keep your eye on the end goal

“At this time of year, it’s easy to get lost in the fog of studying and worrying, and it’s easy to lose perspective about the bigger world out there and the fact that all of this is part of life’s journey.

The end of this year will soon come around, and your effort will be rewarded if you know that you gave it your all on the road to making your dreams a reality,” says Dr Mavunga

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