5 Finals Tips For The Underdogs

I wanted to get this post out quickly before it becomes May 4th and my blog gets even more behind! With studying for finals, I haven’t had much time to brainstorm and really plan out all of my posts for this month just yet. So I’ve had to come up with this on the fly so just stay with me here. I decided that the most appropriate post was one about the main thing on my mind at the moment…finals! So here are 5 quick suggestions and tips that you probably already know but I hope you find them at least a little bit relevant and helpful anyway.

1. Get some sleep!

I know this is like impossible for any college kid to the point where most of us have just gone ahead and embraced the whole no sleep thing. But, I still believe that you can get at least a little bit of sleep. It’s important to do everything you can not to be up all night cramming at the last second. If you want to cram at all, make sure it’s right before you actually take your exam. Sleep is really important, red bull isn’t your friend. Chances are, if you take it, you might end up crashing right when you’re taking your exam and no one wants that. The best way to be fully focuses is with plenty of sleep.

2. Minimize your distractions

Setting aside some time where you just sit down and study all your materials for each exam is the best way to just center yourself on what you’re doing. I realize this is pretty much impossible but try to just stay inside your own little bubble. Don’t bring in any electronics or anything of that nature because you’re bound to get seriously sidetracked.

3. Use some white noise or instrumental/classical music

Music with words can be dangerous while studying because you start to simply focus on that and not what you’re studying. However, there are other types of music that work quietly in the background as you get to work. White noise is a great tool for when you want to buckle down and study. You can also never go wrong with some classical music to get you in the study zone. Modern classical music is good too but some (like the ones that are the instrumental versions of your favorite songs) may be a bit distracting, so watch out for that!

4. Work with others

There are both pros and cons to spending all your time studying for finals for other people, but sometimes it can be a very helpful thing to do. I recommend this one when you share a class with a friend. You both can share your notes and you can get some feedback if they caught something that you didn’t or vice versa. They might also give you some cool study ideas that you’ve never heard of before!

5. Find an organization strategy

Everyone has a different method to studying that works for them. Most students never had any need for them in high school so some of us may still be developing this as we go along in college. That being said, you know what works for you. I just think it’s crucial to at least have something set in place that is your own personal method that you know has worked for you in the past.

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Steve Job Quotes

Steve Jobs was a insanely creative and innovative guy. He was also a guy who faced a lot of failure in his life. He was a college drop out who was at rock bottom but who found a way to get back to the top and take classes that he was genuinely interested in. Then once he had that company, he ended up getting fired from the company that he helped create. Then his work began with Pixar and he found his way back to Apple. He had a complicated journey to the top and even though he died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, he still was a success story. Years before his death, he gave a commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University. I’m going to list several important Steve Jobs quotes and most of them come from that speech.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
“If you live each day as it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.”
“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
“Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.”  
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”

“I Hate Christian Laettner” Review

This 30 for 30 or ESPN film, whichever name you prefer, looks at one of the most hated college athletes in the history of the game. It explores many different reasons why the hate for Christian Laettner was so serious. After all, he was just a kid, what did he ever really do to deserve the hate? The film talks to many different people including Christian Laettner himself, his family, Coach K, Coach K’s wife, past teammates, the Fab Five, opponents of his, and many different authors, reporters, etc who wrote books and stories about their hate. Many different perspectives were offered during this film which is what I’ve always loved most about documentaries- especially sports documentaries.

The first reason that they look at is that Laettner was perceived as a rich kid because he attended Duke University and a prep school before that. In reality, Laettner came from a middle class family. His mom was a teacher and his dad was a journalist. He couldn’t afford prep school but they offered a type of work study where he would work these dirty type jobs extremely early in the morning in exchange for his tuition. He only went to Duke because Coach K offered him a full scholarship. This alone gave me personally some new respect for the guy. He didn’t have anything handed to him, he worked for everything he had which is something worthy of respect.

Another reason why people hate Laettner is that he’s a white kid. Some people thought he might be racist or view black people differently since the only black guys on his basketball team were called “Uncle Tom” and things of that sort. Laettner was actually extremely tolerant of other races, maybe even was more against white people than black. His teammates bragged on how impressed they were with his style and his knowledge of hip-hop.

The third reason explored was that he was a bully who preyed on the weak. I actually laughed out loud because they used Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift as the image for a bully. Yes, Laettner was an animal on the court and he was certainly a big trash talker. The way he carried himself and seemed to get away with so much stuff other players wouldn’t get away with was extremely disheartening and irritating. But he also seemed like a good teammate and actually a cool guy off the court. He just knew how to get under people’s skin.

After watching this documentary, I learned a lot about the background of this guy that got such a terrible reputation over the years. I think it’s sad how much people disliked him and how far some people took it. Like it’s actually ridiculous that his 12-year-old sister was called a whore just for being his sister. Like what did she ever do to deserve that? Sometimes the hatred people have isn’t rational and is fairly upsetting. Ultimately, people hated how good he was and I love that the documentary explored that. But I think it wasn’t just one sided, it also showed the reasons behind why people hate him by talking to the sources directly. Overall, it’s one of my favorite ESPN films.

March Madness Cinderella Stories

Since March Madness is currently going on, I thought it’d be an appropriate time to highlight some of the most incredible Cinderella stories in the history of the tournament. We all like cheering for the underdog and in each of these cases, the underdog was able to achieve awesomely unexpected things and win us all over in the process.

1985 Villanova

villanova basketball

This was a brutal Nova team that depended a lot on their defense. They didn’t often score but they also kept their opponents from scoring as well. They were an 8 seed and they easily made it to the title game against Patrick Ewing and his favored Georgetown team. The game was pretty close, but Villanova came out on top and beat them by 2.

2011 VCU

Donald Miralie/Getty Images

This team had to win a play-in game just to make it into the tournament. That alone shows you just how much of an underdog they were. They didn’t let that slow them down, instead they came out swinging. They took out great teams such as USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and then top seeded Kansas. The Kansas game was the most famous one due to how good the Jayhawks were that year. They would eventually lose in the final four against another big underdog Butler, but that doesn’t take away from what VCU was able to accomplish.

1983 NC State

This video gives me chills and makes me cry a little bit everytime I watch it. The 6th seeded NC State was able to pull off a buzz beater in the final seconds of the championship game. This is by far the best game as far as being neck in neck in a championship game that I’ve ever seen. One Wolfpack player attempts a three-point shot that is obviously something done just on a whim and probably not going to make it. Then all of a sudden, another Wolfpack player pretty much comes out of nowhere and dunks it up to win the game. It’s so heartwarming to see coach Jimmy V run out on the court where he famously ran around looking for someone to hug after the big win.

2010 and 2011 Butler University

Nobody predicted that Butler would have the success that they did two years in a row. The first time, they beat out number one seed Syracuse in the sweet 16, then Kansas State, and then Michigan State before the team took on yet another number one seed Duke in the national championship. The game came down to the wire, but Butler lost after a heartbreaking half court shot by star Gordon Hayward hit off the backboard. Despite this, Butler still came back the next season and eventually lost to Connecticut in the championship game. Although they never won, they still made history. The team became the first team that wasn’t a one or two seed to make it to back to back Final Fours. They also became the first team to beat one and two seeds before the Final Four in consecutive years.