How To Utilize Your Study Days

Study Days: The days between when classes end and exams start

By Zoe Shafiezadeh December 6, 2023
How To Utilize Your Study Days

As the semester comes to a close and finals rear their ugly heads, students sometimes struggle to keep themselves afloat. Luckily for us, the University of Michigan ends classes a couple of days before exams truly begin. This year, the last day of classes will be held on Dec. 6, and exams officially begin Dec. 8. Although there is only one day officially in between these times, most classes do not have exams until the following week, leaving more time for students to devote their time to studying. While there is truly never enough time to study for exams, there are a couple of ways that students can maximize their days to best prepare themselves for the end of the semester.

1. Find a Spot

The University of Michigan has a sprawling campus that has many places for students to study. However, right around the end of the term, every student on campus is looking for a place to study, making it sometimes tough to find an available space on campus. The Shapiro and Hatcher Libraries become metropolitan cities and every coffee shop in a two-mile radius has to brace itself for an influx of sleep-deprived students. The best way to find a spot around campus is to avoid the most popular areas.

Some of my favorite places to study around campus that are less well-known are the School of Social Work basement and the Samuel T. Dana Building. Many students walk by this building and disregard it because they are not in the School of Social Work and they tend to disregard buildings they do not frequent. However, the School of Social Work is open to all U-M students, is located near the center of campus, and has a large basement with many desks and tables. The basement also has a large skylight to provide natural light and vending machines for quick snacks, which make it the perfect place to hunker down to study on free days.

The Dana Building might be similarly unfamiliar as the School of Social Work, where students tend to avoid it because they have never been inside. The Dana has two large study spaces on the first and fourth floors, as well as many conference rooms that can be used if not reserved by members of the School for Environment and Sustainability.

If these other buildings aren't for you, there is also the option to rent out spaces on campus. Students can choose between different locations on campus, such as rooms in Shapiro or Carrels in Hatcher. It allows students to rent rooms for up to four hours at most once a day. They are available a week in advance, so if you want a specific room, don’t wait because they fill up fast.

2. Plan Out Your Time

This may seem like an obvious tip but at U-M it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of assignments, projects, or exams that can be due within one day of each other. I find it best to make a clear list of when your assignments are due and cross-check that with the time commitment and degree of difficulty for you to complete it. This will help you clearly identify what assignments are due sooner and will take longer than other assignments. Additionally, if you have classes with similar topics, it can be helpful to separate those study sessions so the information doesn't begin to blur together. It can also be refreshing to switch to a different subject rather than continue the same one for multiple hours. I also plan out when I will roughly begin and end studying so I have a time frame to follow throughout my day.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Again this may seem like a repetitive tip, but when you are spending multiple hours a day studying and are stressed about classes, it is easy to put yourself last. During this time, it is important to make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating right, and taking breaks. Studying for multiple hours is unavoidable during this time in the semester but your well-being should not suffer because of it. If you are not taking care of yourself, you may not be able to perform your best. I like to break up my study time by going on a five or 10 minute walk every hour or switching to something that takes little mental effort like reading a book or watching a show. Find what works for you and make sure to plan breaks throughout your day. Getting enough sleep is also incredibly important for your health. Although it's difficult to get those recommended hours, try to work with your natural schedule and go to bed early if you prefer waking up early or plan to sleep in if you like studying late at night.

I know this time of year can be difficult and overwhelming, especially if this is your first semester at the University of Michigan. However, everyone attends this university for a reason and we are all capable of being here. Find your spot, plan out your day, and most importantly take care of yourself. Although these tips may seem trivial, it’s important to remember the little things you can control when entering times of high stress. You’ve got this.

Zoe Shafiezadeh
Zoe Shafiezadeh

Zoe Shafiezadeh is a current sophomore studying communications and mass media with a certificate in sales and marketing from the Ross School of Business. Zoe is originally from Palos Verdes, California, a suburb of Los Angeles where she loves to spend time at the beach or going on hikes. In addition to working as a marketing and media assistant for the Office of Enrollment Management, she is also a communications assistant for Michigan Medicine, as well as a member of Sport Business Association and Alpha Delta Pi.