As we head into the last month of the semester, many emoticons are used to describe feelings on campus. There’s the smiley face with tongue sticking out, the shocked face with wide eyes or even the frowny face with an X for eyes.

We are dragging on, pining for that invisible ringing bell that will release us from our cares, our burdens and our warm clothes.

At least until summer semester starts.

We only have four weeks left, and these are the most important four weeks of the entire semester, when what you’ve done (or haven’t done) so far can be negated by finals, last papers and attendance. On the flip side, this is also the time when teachers can be talked into extra credit, makeup work and help. Here are some helpful tips to get through these last four weeks in one piece.

1 Don’t be fooled into complacency. Use these last few weeks to their full advantage. Con every teacher you can into extra credit or makeup work. They want you to pass, not just for your sake, but for theirs. Most of them will be teaching the same subject in the fall.

2 Schedule everything, but keep it loose. Sometimes just taking a night off can be more beneficial than cramming. Choose your lazy times wisely, though. Too many and you’re right back next semester doing the same work.

3 Sleep! No work or homework schedule is worth losing rest. Seriously.

4 Turn in everything, I mean everything, on time. This is not the time to lose points because the stupid printer doesn’t work. Again, schedule. I try to leave myself at least two days – three for a major assignment if I’ve known about it for a while – to get everything done. That means I have at least an extra day to goof off or to get it done early and spend that time goofing off.

5 Blow off Facebook. Forget Farmville, delete Angry Birds from your phone and kick Bejeweled to the curb. Get rid of it! Time wasting is one thing, but pointless, futile, brain-melting time wasting is another thing altogether. That’s what at least part of summer is for, or the beginning of a semester, but not the end. You can play with your toys later.

6 Choose one day a week when you won’t do homework at all. This is such a relieving measure. Give yourself a designated day of rest, it will allow you to get done other things that you may have neglected. Read a non-school book, hang with the family, watch movies, clean your house, do anything that has nothing to do with homework. It’s rejuvenating.

Most importantly: Don’t lose faith. The end will come.

These are just some of the ways I’ve found to help cope with that inevitability. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming . . .