For many of us at Illinois State University, the last few weeks have been filled with exams, quizzes, papers and midterms, so with Thanksgiving break only a few days away, there’s no doubt a strong feeling of relief is descending.

The much-deserved week-long break from school is also a reminder to reflect on all the time and effort we’ve poured into the last few months, but also to be thankful for those who support us here and at home.

Thanksgiving break is a time for us to go home and take a break from the stress and deadlines that our classes put on us. It’s a time to recharge those drained mental batteries and prepare ourselves for the homestretch of the semester.

Equally important, it’s a week we should all spend with our friends who aren’t with us at ISU, our family members who we may rarely see while being away and all our other loved ones whom we miss dearly.

It’s essential to remember that this is also a week to prepare ourselves for that impending final stretch of the semester. Thanksgiving break may give us a break from our schoolwork, but our schoolwork doesn’t take a break from us.

Many of us may use next week to be couch-potatoes, play video games all day and participate in other hobbies we may not get to do while at school.

But instead of doing those relaxing and enjoyable activities, we should use that time to study for exams and begin writing our final papers, so that we don’t cram it all the week before finals.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use Thanksgiving break to do some of those fun things, but you should also utilize the time to prepare yourself for finals week,  and there’s a strong reason why that is.

According to a 2011 study conducted by, “… students that cram for tests and exams typically only pass their examinations with an average score.”

That same study found that a majority of the information gained throughout the cramming sessions ended up being forgotten not just over a period of time but during the actual exam itself.

So, here’s some advice for all the Redbirds who are ready to relax and enjoy some delicious meals next week.

Use this break to catch up on the undoubtedly large amount of sleep you’ve missed and get yourself recharged for the coming week. Most of us probably won’t get to enjoy sleeping in until winter break arrives.

Try to cut back on social media as it has been proven to distract students and lead to procrastination. Spend time catching up with friends on Facebook or Instagram, but also use your week of freedom to start preparing for finals.

We all need Thanksgiving break to give us time to ourselves and to spend with our family and friends, so enjoy every minute of those moments.

Instead of just lounging around the house and doing unproductive activities, set a short amount of time during your day to study for that exam you’ll have the hardest time on or start writing a rough draft of your final paper that might not be as easy as you thought.

ANDREW DOUGHERTY is a Columnist for The Vidette. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter at @addough

IF YOU SUPPORT THE VIDETTE MISSION of providing a training laboratory for Illinois State University student journalists to learn and sharpen viable, valuable and marketable skills in all phases of print and digital media, please consider contributing to this most important cause. Thank you.

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.