Just Sayin’: Row Your Boat

Erik JohnsonWell, you’ve made it. Almost. Only one more week stands between you and the freedoms of winter break.

For some of you, thoughts of finals send shivers down your spine. Your professors seem to find joy in condensing an entire semester into a single two-hour time period. And not just one professor. All of them. Your weekly planner is a mixture of all-nighters at Tim Horton’s and multiple Killer Bees from Rinnova the following day.

Others of you may not have it so bad. Maybe you have a project due here, a test there. But all in all, finals week is just another week for you.

And then there are the few of you who are actually excited for finals week. Not because you enjoy taking tests or giving presentations.

I am talking about those of you who are making plans for the extended hours in Chuck’s, dragging in televisions and gaming systems so you can spend an entire day playing games in the SSC while your clothes are heavily saturated with the wonderful aroma from the grill.

But you don’t care. Chuck’s is open all day, and you will seize that opportunity in any way possible.

It’s always strange to come to the end of a semester. Finals week seems so far away at the beginning. I know I am not the only one who takes a look at all the syllabi and wonders how in the world all that work is supposed to be completed. It’s like looking across the ocean before you attempt to cross it in your little rowboat.

Somehow you make it to the middle, and although you’ve made it halfway, there is no sight of land in either direction. Midterms are like giant waves threatening to capsize your boat at any moment.

Maybe you are even flung out of your boat a time or two and the only thing holding you above the water is the little orange floaties someone gave to you as you were leaving. But you know there is only one thing to do, so you keep rowing that boat.

And then one day you notice something on the horizon. Where once seemingly endless waters dominated your sights, there is a sliver of something in the distance. What it is exactly, you aren’t sure of until you make it a little closer. It’s land.

Your strength slowly returns and you row feverishly to the shore.

And then finals week is here. You quickly realize that the shore you are trying to reach is the shore of Nazare, Portugal, where an underwater canyon combines with strong ocean currents to generate enormous waves, some reaching almost 100 feet. But you have no choice but to row your little boat through those massive swells.

How it all ends is up to you now. You have made it this far and you can make it to the end. It may not be a whole lot of fun. In fact, it might just be one of the worst weeks of your life. But you can do it.


Tips for surviving this upcoming finals week:

1. Only pull an all-nighter if you really, really, really need it.
Or if you are done with all your tests and have nothing better to do. I have only pulled one in my time at Cedarville, and that was the last night at school after returning from a track meet at 3:30 in the morning. I personally feel they hurt you more than help. It’ll take some effort, but don’t get to a point where you need one. It’s that simple. I will add that some majors are more prone to needing it than others just because of the nature of the content. But avoid if at all possible.

2. If you are short on meals, there are a lot of people with a lot of extra meals.
Don’t starve yourself. Sure, it may take you actually asking someone for help. That’s harder for some than others. In general, people with extra scans are more than happy to help. I survived last fall with only nine scans for the last month of school.

3. If you have out-of-class projects, do them in the morning if possible.
If you are getting enough sleep, the first few things you actually focus on in the day will be your most productive. Make a physical list of three things you need to accomplish and do the most important first, then the second most, and then the last. Cross them off as you go and reward yourself with a break or something after you accomplish each one. It sounds ridiculous, but it works.

4. Remember you aren’t alone.
Although it may not feel like it, other people are probably having a really rough week as well. Take a couple minutes to encourage others. Buy a friend a coffee from Rinnova or something. Little acts of kindness go a long way.

5. Finally, have a wonderful and relaxing winter break.
These next few years will bring some big changes in your life. Enjoy and cherish your time with your family and friends. Take nothing for granted. And have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Erik Johnson is a senior journalism major and columnist for Cedars. He competes on the track team. Follow him @walkingtheedge9.

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