#SeanAbroad – How to Manage Your Time During Finals While Studying Abroad

By: GoEnnounce Student Sean Kirkpatrick

I’m Sean, a junior in college, and a first time study abroad student. I am studying abroad at London South Bank University for this semester. As I’m abroad, I’ll be sharing my adventures, experiences, lessons, (and maybe even mishaps!) as I venture through my semester across the world. Please be sure to check back in and follow my posts on Twitter with the hashtag #SeanAbroad.

Many universities in the US are either finishing up or done so most of you know how stressful finals can be. Finals can make you want to pull your hair out and lock yourself in your room until they are over. Finals abroad are no different except for the fact that you have these really awesome places around you and there’s always tons of  things to do.  At home you don’t have these temptations. You’ve either lived near your college your whole life,  or you know you can do an activity later, or the college town basically shuts down because everyon has finals & is in studying mode.

When abroad, you want to experience everything you can before you leave, which if you are taking finals, this will be coming up soon. I wanted to share a few ways I’ve learned to balance finding time to study for final exams and write final papers while still being able to have some fun during the last few days you have left, abroad.

One thing is – start your day early! Then you have more time in your day to do things. I know that many students, myself included, hate waking up early and like to be able to sleep for as long as they can. Before finals, I was waking up around noon, sometimes later if I was tired.  But honestly, that wastes time the precious time you have left abroad! You can sleep when your home!  I decided one night that it would be better to wake up early to get work done then staying up late. Now I have been waking up around 10 and give myself about an hour to lay in bed and check the internet before starting to work on finals. This way from about 11 till I decide I’m done I can study or do work. If I do all the work I needed to get done that day and do it well, I reward myself with time off to have fun.

This brings me to my next tip – Reward yourself! It may seem silly to do but I found that rewarding myself for completing something or finishing a big study session was one of the best ways to push me to get my work done.  I used to do this many times a day for little things such as, telling myself that I can’t go for a walk on the river Thames in London until I have either cleaned my room or washed my dishes.  Now, I also apply that to my final exams and papers.  For example, when I want to go out with my friends to a new pub we have never been to, or get invited to go do something touristy such as the London Eye, if I had a paper to do  I tell myself that I cannot do these things until a specific section of my paper is done, or until I’ve checked it over for grammar, etc.  Same would go for studying and even just general homework. This is a great way to get your work done and not feel guilty for having a little end of semester fun while abroad.

Lastly, don’t lock yourself in your room to get all your work done, take breaks!  At college,  when I had a ton of work to do I would just stay inside until it was done. You shouldn’t do this during finals abroad because after finals, unless you’re staying for a specific reason, it’s time to head back home. There have been many times these last few days, where while I was writing my paper, I saw that it was a beautiful, sunny day outside. And when you’re in London you don’t get many of those!  I would just stop what I was doing and get up and just walk around and admire the sights of the city. This not only lets you take a break from studying, but also lets you make the most of the last few days or weeks you have left abroad. I even took a break halfway through writing this post in order to just get some fresh air and see all the magnificent sights of London. I came back with a fresher mindset!

I know finals are a tough, I’m currently in the middle of my own, but when you’re abroad make sure to find time to experience the city or country you are in while still getting your work done.  Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience that you should really make the most of.  Time to get back to work on finals for me, good luck everyone.

Stay tuned for my next post and follow #SeanAbroad on GoEnnounce!

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