Dear class of 2022,

 

Congratulations on being almost halfway through freshman year. I hope you can now tell your buildings apart and have figured out your favorite lunch spots. You’re almost a real high schooler, there is just one more thing you have left to complete your initiation: Finals.

 

Now before we get into the mayhem of finals, my biggest suggestion is this: DO NOT leave your grade dependent on your final. Work ahead of time to get your grades in the best position they can be that will leave you with far less to worry and stress about. Get all your work turned in, make up missing assignments, talk about extra credit—leaving this till the last few weeks of the semester only adds to the weight of finals and most teachers are less likely to work with you then too.

 

In addition to this, we go through the grueling week that students call a “dead week,” although the admin prefers the name “quiet week.” It’s basically a week where we are supposed to have finished all curriculum, and the school shuts down all activities. Nobody can get called out of class, and most extracurriculars take a break, hence the name “quiet week.” However, this often ends up being the week of make up work, teachers cramming in the last bit of curriculum, and for the most of us, procrastinating the dreaded studying.

 

Then comes the week we’ve all been dreading—finals week. One week of classes lasting two hours, as if our 90-minute classes weren’t enough, but hey, at least we get out at noon on three of those days. So here are my four best tips to make them as easy as possible.

  • Form study groups! Studying with friends is always more fun, and they are great to make sure you’re covering all possible content. Since most of your finals cover the entire semester, being with a group of people can help you make sure you’re studying the most important parts of each topic. You guys can also help each other out with concepts that some people understood better than others; this will help your review and learning at the same time.
  • Talk with your teachers. They are here to help you, as much as it may not seem like it, and finals can be stressful for them too. If you realize that you’re struggling with a particular concept or don’t know what to put on your note card, they are the best people to talk to. But don’t wait to talk to them either, initiative means so much to teachers and the more you can show that you are engaged in their curriculum and want to do your best, outside of the letter grade, the more they will be eager to help you.
  • Go to the library. For me, the highlight of the final is when it’s 10:30 and you’re at the Mill Valley Library with half of the school collectively having mental breakdowns. Moral of the story is that the Mill Valley Public Library stays open for just us during finals week so that we can study, and it is the place to be. It’s great for many reasons. Because you’re there,  you might as well study, plus there are kids of all grades and probably lots of kids from your classes, so it’s easy to get peer help and collaborate or to find someone just to tell you that you’re doing great.
  • Take Care of Yourself! It truly is the most important and most effective thing you can do. Sleep, Eat, Smile, Don’t kill yourself over one test. Remember, you can’t retain information if you don’t give your head time to process it, which means sleep! Yes, finals are important but you and your health, in the end, are what matters most.

 

Sincerely,

A stressed out Junior

 

Kara Kneafsey
karakneafsey@gmail.com

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