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Cat in the Stax: ‘Tis the Season of Finals

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash.com

Welcome back to campus, Wildcats! I hope you all had a restful break and were able to enjoy your time off and spend it with friends and family. It is important to be rejuvenated and re-energized as we enter the home stretch of the semester.

The passing of Thanksgiving marks various occasions: the end of November, the approach of December, the beginning of official preparations for Christmas, and the coming of finals. We are not only entering the Christmas season but the season of finals as well. From today, there are only two weeks until the first day of finals. And for those of you who are liberal arts majors, chances are you have papers to write instead of tests to study for, so these next two weeks are really crunch time.

While you research, write, and study, remember that it is important to take care of yourself too. Your work is only as good as you are! If you are stressed, tired, and overwhelmed, you won’t do as well on your assignments.

Take it Little by Little

This is a potential time-management strategy you can use to complete your final assignments. Let’s say you have a ten-page research paper coming up. Instead of looking at this project as a huge undertaking, break it down into smaller steps: read, highlight and take notes, outline, and write. You can break it down even further by doing a little bit each day (starting today). Reading 1-2 sources and take notes on Days 1-3, create an outline on Day 4, write 2-3 pages on Days 5-10 (or even 5 pages a day if you’re a fast typer, meaning you could have your entire paper written in 2 days), and review and edit on Day 11. And just like that you’re done, with some time to spare! This process works the same if you have a big test to study for. Study a chapter or section each day and review the material the day or two before the exam.

This method only works if you start early enough and give yourself enough time to work. If you wait until a few days before a paper is due to start working on it, you’re going to have to do everything at once which will stress you out. Starting your work ahead of time and working on it in bite-sized portions allows you to complete everything in a timely manner and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed. Hopefully, you’ll then have some free time to relax and focus on self-care. This strategy is also great if you have multiple assignments: you work on a little bit for each project every day, and you’ll have everything completed before their due dates.

Do Something You Enjoy

With all your focus directed toward schoolwork, it can be easy to forget to take some time to yourself. Do something this week that you love. This can be a range of things: read a book, watch a movie, workout, take a nap, get dinner with a friend, whatever makes you happy and will get your mind off school and exams.

Villanova’s Health Services has many opportunities for students to de-stress and take a break. They offer Pet Therapy every Wednesday at noon and 15 minute Chair Massages every Monday.

To remind students to take care of themselves during the finals season, Health Services will be hosting a Thriving Through Finals event on Thursday, December 7 at 12 p.m. in the Connelly Center. Pick up a healthy snack, meet the campus dietitian, and learn what foods you can eat to support you during finals week!

If you happen to be studying in Falvey on December 7, feel free to stop by Speakers’ Corner for our Stress Busting Open House from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Library will have snacks and video games. It will be a great way to take a break from work and re-energize yourself!


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Setting New Routines

Hi, I’m Rebecca Amrick, Falvey’s newest Cat in the Stax! I’ll be writing articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

As you adjust to a different environment and new schedule, you may be trying to work out a new daily routine. Whether this means setting aside time to exercise, planning get-togethers with friends, or even figuring out when and where to eat in between classes, you’re trying to juggle academics and a social life and still find time for hobbies and relaxation. It’s a lot, and too often it feels like there is just not enough time in the day.

In this article, I will provide some tips on how you can properly organize your time so you can do what you need to do while still having space to do what you want to do. I’ll apply each piece of advice to one of my own habits that I’m trying to develop to make it more concrete and understandable.

Decide Priorities

What do you want to focus on this semester? Besides your schoolwork, of course! Do you want to exercise more? Read some books on your TBR? Or do you simply want some time to rest each day? Deciding what you want to accomplish will help you set a routine you can be excited about.

Personal Example: I want to run more. I’m planning to run a half marathon later this year, so I need to set aside time to train for it.

Photo by Glenn Cartsens-Peters

Set Small Goals

Simply saying “I want to run more” is daunting and vague. For each priority you set, break it down into smaller, measurable pieces. The measurable part is important: having distinct, quantitative goals makes carrying them out easier. It will also allow you to see how you progress in a habit.

Personal Example: To train for the race, I’ll start by running for 20 minutes each day. This number will increase every week: 20 minutes this week, 25 minutes the next, and so on.

Write it Out

It might help you stay on track to write out your schedule for the day. Record your daily goals and schedule when you’ll achieve certain accomplishments. This can be through an academic or daily planner, a calendar, or even a simple to-do list.

Personal Example: I find it helpful to keep a planner/to-do list where I schedule my tasks for each hour (or couple of hours). I sit down every night and plan out what needs to be done the next day and when I’m going to do it.

Be Consistent

Consistence is key! If you don’t stick by your routine, you’ll never achieve your goals. It takes 21 days for something to become a habit. If you’re struggling now, keep at it! It will get easier!

If you still need help managing your time and staying loyal to your routine, check out these resources from the Library:


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: September 6, 2023

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