Final Projects: A Procrastinator’s Nightmare

Finals week is every college student’s least favorite part of the year. If they’re lucky, during the semester their projects and tests have been spaced out, allowing them to treat each one with the necessary attention and care. But during finals week, all bets are off. They have to find a way to put all of their energy into all of their classes. For some, that means splitting their time between going over notes for each class and preparing for tests that fall in the assigned finals blocks. For others, especially those in creatively-oriented majors, these final times become due dates for larger, sometimes semester-long projects.

For those classes, the entirety of the workload falls before the actual finals day. And sometimes, due to unfortunate scheduling, those projects may end up being due on the same day or two. In these cases, proper planning can be almost as important as knowing the content of the classes. Without setting a schedule and sticking to it, the student runs the risk of late work, caffeine dependence, or the dreaded all-nighter. Any or all of which can harm the student’s health, both mental and physical–and probably their grade point average. 

So, how can a student escape the perils of the multi-project due dates that are rapidly approaching? There are a few different options. The easiest way is probably to email one or multiple professors and ask for an extension. If the student explains their position and the neighboring nature of the due dates, the professor will likely grant the extension. This allows the student to prioritize projects with earlier due dates without feeling like they have no time to complete the later ones. 

If an extension is a no-go, then they can work ahead. In many classes, the final project is listed on the syllabus. If it is something that does not require the whole semester’s knowledge to begin, or if they can add to it throughout the semester, that is a great option. Having half of a final done a week or two before it is due can be a lifesaver, especially as classes ramp up in the last few weeks in preparation for finals. To help plan ahead,  I suggest a calendar–physical or digital–where students can mark down the times they have to work on finals and which ones they plan to work on during those times. Having a plan can help fight the feeling of doom deadlines often bring.

And if all else fails, a student can clear the weekend before finals and work straight through, powering through successive projects with nothing more than the stress of an incoming deadline. As long as they remember that it’s important to take breaks for food and fresh air, they will likely be able to complete their projects. But that’s not recommended, and it’s probably best to stick to the earlier tips. Hopefully, there was something in there that you can use, and good luck on finals!