Safety, Snacks, and Smart Apps: Tips for Making it Through Finals Week

Practice safe studying as stress levels peak this semester.

The weeks leading up to the end of the semester can seem like an all-out sprint. Packed with review sessions, hours of studying, and late nights at the Library or Clough Commons, these last few days are an important time to practice safe and healthy behaviors.

Below are the top tips you’ll need to maximize your safety, safeguard your health, and better your studying.

Safety: See Something, Say Something

In terms of study spots, it’s likely most buildings on campus will stay populated well into the night.

Even so, it’s never a good idea to leave valuables unattended. Also avoid propping doors open, and don’t allow strangers to enter the premises.

If you need cash to buy snacks, think ahead and use your ATM card during the day. If you must use it at night, go indoors or use a well-lit machine.

When it’s time to head home after a long night, walk with a friend or group of people. Download the Rave Guardian app to set a safety timer for your walk home. Users specify the number of minutes it should take to get to their destination, at which point they deactivate the app; if it isn’t deactivated in the allotted time, the app will send an alert to the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) and dispatch an officer to the location using GPS.

Parking and Transportation Services will extend the hours of operation until around midnight for the Trolley as well as the Red, Green, and Blue bus routes, beginning April 27. The Midnight Rambler will continue to operate its usual hours of 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. The Stingerette (404-385-RIDE) will also continue its usual operating schedule from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. Students may also request an escorted ride home from GTPD by calling 404-894-2500.

To help keep yourself and others safe, it’s important to remember: If you see something, say something. Report suspicious activity to GTPD by calling 404-894-2500 or using the anonymous texting feature in the Rave Guardian app. Police will also step up patrols in areas of campus frequented by students at the end of the semester. 

Feeding and Fueling

Wherever you choose to set up study camp, keep brain food on hand to avoid detrimental snacking. A few foods that can power you through include sunflower seeds, orange juice, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt.

Keep your system flushed by balancing snacking — and perhaps an increase in caffeine intake — with water. The Mayo Clinic recommends nine cups a day for women and 13 for men. Carry a reusable water bottle, and keep the refills coming.

Though “breakfast” may happen at odd hours the next couple weeks, be sure to eat it, as it boosts short-term memory and gives you energy. Consider cooking a large portion of your favorite dishes or meals in advance and freezing individual portions so you can grab and go when you’re in a rush.

Lastly, plan for a break at the Campus Recreation Center. Not only is it one of the best spaces to workout in the country, but the activity will give you a brain boost. Even 30 minutes of exercise has been shown to lead to marked improvements in brain performance. 

Study Better: Bye-Bye, Facebook

Waiting until the last minute to start studying can lead to stress. If at all possible, start early and spread studying out over multiple days.

Switch subjects frequently, taking occasional breaks. Short, manageable chunks of studying capitalize upon the primacy and recency effects, which are a person’s tendency to best remember the first and last things.

Cut down on distractions like Internet browsing by utilizing apps that block social media sites or apps that increase your focus. The app SelfControl will block specified websites; for blocking all social media sites, use Anti-Social blocks. To set reminders for study breaks, use apps like the Pomodoro Timer or Time Out.

To reprint notes or study guides for free, take advantage of Central Printing Services. Just select Central PS as the designated printer (using a Tech-owned computer or a personal computer if you’ve installed the mobile printer package).

Print jobs can be picked up on the second floor of the Student Center two-and-a-half hours after printing, or the next business day if sent after 3 p.m., so plan in advance of when you need to review your materials. 

Other Tips

  • Study in an environment where you feel most comfortable. For some, that's in a group; for others, it's alone or with music. Everyone is different. Choose a place where you can concentrate on the material and not the surroundings.
  • Study for subjects based on difficulty. You don't have to devote the same amount of time to all subjects.
  • Check with professors and teaching assistants about study guides, practice tests, or other review materials that could aid your studying.
  • Budget in time to sleep. Sleep has positive affects on creating new memories in the brain, which will help you retain the material you're studying.

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