De-stressing finals; the how, what and where that works for you

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Jillian Augustine, Senior Editor
@jillaugcourant

As we approach the last couple of weeks of the school year, the minds of every student and teacher at New Canaan High School seem to revolve around one thing: finals.

Finals make up that dreaded week at the end of every school year; the one that you know you’ve survived before and most likely will survive again…but, how?

The answer, unfortunately, is simple: studying. Everyone knows that you can’t make it through this week of final exams without putting in some work. Even now, with about two weeks to go until we sit down at those desks, arrange our sharp number 2 pencils, and mentally prepare ourselves for at least three mental breakdowns, you can find NCHS students filling the desk space in the New Canaan library.

The New Canaan Library “Teen Section”, which will very soon be filled to capacity with students studying for their exams. Photo by Jillian Augustine

While personally, I prefer to study at home, I have tried out a few study groups at the New Canaan Public library. I know that it becomes the place to be in the days before final exams begin. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more Monster Energy drinks, Bruegger’s bagels, granola bars, and especially iced coffees than I did during my week in the library before the final exams of my sophomore year. Not to mention the scattered review packets and study sheets, incredible array of calculators and computers, and 10-pound textbooks taking up the table space.

However, when it comes to finals, many people opt out of the library option for the more peaceful atmosphere of their own home. Junior Emma Chivily is one of these students who prefers to study on her own. “I like studying for finals at home better because the noise and social scene of the library tends to distract me,” Emma said.

There are many other benefits to studying alone than just the absence of distraction that Emma has found. Oftentimes, students who go to the library to study pair up in study partners or groups in order to get work done. While this tactic can sometimes be useful, it also has it’s downsides. A study by “Get College Credit” showed that students who work alone can use their time more wisely than if they were working with others, as they do not have to focus on the things that their partner does not know in addition to their own.

Additionally, this study found that studying on your own, in a more quiet environment allows you to work at your own pace, without being rushed or slowed down by others.

Emma believes that her method of studying alone may work better for some students than others. “I suggest studying from home if you’re easily distracted or tend to find yourself wanting to focus on certain topics more than others,” she said. “This way, you get to budget your own time on the things that you need to do.”

On the other hand, there are advantages to group study as well. “Get College Credit” found that verbalizing concepts and explaining material to others in a group helps to reinforce ideas and improve your knowledge retention. In addition, working on material with others gives you access to information that you may not have on your own.

Sophomore Oliver Crookenden is one of these students who studies more successfully at the library. “It works better for me to study at the library because I get help from friends who may know more than I do about certain things,” Oliver said. “Also, I get to help out other people too.”

Oliver says that while it is easy to get off topic at the library, there are ways to make the space beneficial for your studying. He suggests working with people who you know will not be distracting, and setting out a definite study plan for each day.

For people who are unsure where they want to crack open their textbooks this finals season, it’s important to weigh the benefits of both independent and collaborative learning with what you know about yourself as a student, as Emma and Oliver have done. No matter which option you chose, I wish you good luck as you tackle finals week!

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Senior Editor for The Courant at NCHS

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