Students Share Study Strategies – The Kenyon Collegian

Now that summer and beautiful weather are upon us, another less-than-welcome guest finds its way to campus: a pervasive fear that spreads like wildfire during the final moments of the academic year. Whether we like it or not, finals week is just around the corner. For many, this means long hours in the Carver Reading Room (or other study space of your choice), sleepless nights and stressful days, and lots (LOTS) of caffeine. But it doesn’t always have to be this way! Kenyon students across the hill have kindly shared their advice on what it takes to have a successful finals week.

How do we even begin to tackle the ‘finals blues’? Many students agree that the key to a good study session is finding your study spot. Although the Chalmers Library is the favorite place for many, others find that the atmosphere is not conducive to their studies. Karina Morey ’25 is a proponent of Chalmers: “My advice is to just go to L2! I am most productive there and associate the space with completing my final exams.” Morey said she feels a lot of anxiety during finals week, and being surrounded by her eager-to-learn peers in L2 pushes her into a “get-it-done” groove. Yiling Hu ’27 has a similar mentality around Chalmers, saying, “I’m a first-floor library kind of guy.” He said he’s doing a good job there, but noted, “Now that the weather is getting nice, I think I’d enjoy sitting outside too.”

Others, like Amanda Kuo ’26 and Isa Braun ’26, don’t work well in Chalmers. “You have to have your ‘spots’ on campus,” Braun said. “I have a number of social places and a number of workplaces. One of these is the LIGO laboratory (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). Kuo agreed, saying that finding places like the LIGO lab that she didn’t associate with her major (music and religious studies) is for the best.

From the many study areas in the library to the tables at New Side, there is certainly a spot for everyone. In case you haven’t found yours yet, some notable places on campus include: Chalmers L1/L2 (or anywhere, really… it’s a library!), the Nu Pi Kappa Reading Room in Ascension Hall, the poolside study nook of Lowry Center , Gund Commons, the Rosse Hall basement, the upper floors of Oden Hall, the Science Quad or even an outdoor lawn.

Once you find that place for you, you’ll want to start studying. We’re all in this together when it comes to finals week, and it’s always motivating to hear the different approaches and mindsets students have to persevere.

Some may be wondering how this year’s freshmen are doing. Hu shared some insights on how he and his fellow students are feeling: “Although I have not yet started preparing for the final exams,” he said, shaking his head, “I think other (freshmen) are doing well with their studies and having a good mindset going to the final.” Annabella Kotas ’27 added to Hu’s positive outlook by saying that she is “studying hard, but so excited that (the final week) will be successful. Finals will happen anyway, so we’ll just have to get through it. She said that she fears the study load for some subjects more than others, but the summer holidays are her light at the end of the tunnel.

Will Bryant ’25 gave his perspective on the week: “Finals week can be really fun if you spread out your work and do fun things like going to the river. I mean, that’s my tip. You really have to make room for it.” Although he noted that this method is easier said than done, Bryant shows the importance of planning ahead as he heads into his own finals week without stress. He also said that we should keep an eye out for fun events and treats on campus during finals week, as these can provide unexpected (and fun) study breaks.

Kuo likes to use the well-known “Pomodoro Technique” to keep himself motivated during longer study sessions. “I set a timer for 40 minutes and when it’s done, I get up and walk or lie outside for 10 (minutes).” Laughing, she added, “I didn’t want to be a ‘Pomodoro person,’ but using this technique works well.” Yesterday I used it and spent four hours writing a final paper. And if you’re studying for tests, not just papers, using whiteboards and forming a study group with friends is really great for just getting things done and not just burning out. But she also advises: “Know which assignments and projects require you to talk or be around people, and which require you to be alone.”

Isaac Johnson ’24 has undergone quite a bit of testing here at Kenyon. While he said his last semester has definitely been the easiest, much of the final stress will depend on the coursework and workload. But something to look forward to is that “as a senior, you’ve been through the routine enough to know what to expect.” He added: “My best final advice is to make a list of specific goals you want to achieve every day. Then follow your to-do list as if it were the Bible. Once you write it down, it’s set in stone. Don’t back down.” It appears Johnson is following this rule to a T as he remains calm and collected heading into his final week of finals here in Kenyon.

And what about those much-needed study breaks? There are so many things you can do during any downtime you encounter. Taking a study break is a great way to avoid burnout. The Kokosing River – accessible from the Gap Trail or just up the road via Honey Run Park – remains a popular choice for students, especially with the nice spring weather. Other students, like Johnson, enjoy running on the many trails around campus, while others, like Braun and Kuo, relax in their hammocks.

Braun and Kuo emphasized that having snacks on hand is always a good choice. “I consume a lot of Sour Patch Kids and pickles,” Kuo said. For Braun, a “bag of market pretzels” is her favorite activity. Nina Malec-Kosak ’26 agreed: “You should treat yourself! Grab a waffle cone (from the bookstore) or a study snack and head out on the river while the weather is nice.” Hu said that while he generally eats anything, “an Arizona drink is the way to go.” Some chips, pickles, and an ice-cold Arizona to wash it all down seem like great snacks for any time of year. In fact, immediately after the interview, Kuo, Braun and Malec-Kosak grabbed some pickles and headed to the river.

Ultimately, the finals are difficult. But we hope you were able to learn something from the words of wisdom given here by many finalists, both seasoned and newbies. If there’s any advice you can tweak to make it work better for you, go for it! The Collegiate wishes you the best of luck this final season and have a great summer!