6 Things to Expect from Your First Finals Week

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I’ve now experienced four and a half years of college, at two different schools, in too many majors to count; so, I think I can offer a few pieces of advice to anyone getting ready for their first finals week.

 

  1. You will be scared. 

I should be an old pro at taking finals by now, but even after all these years of classes and finals weeks, I’m still nervous.  Just the title of the week is daunting and automatically stresses me out.  What if I haven’t actually learned all this material?  What if this seemingly lovely professor throws us a curve ball, and makes the final nothing like any other test?  What if I blank in the middle of the test and realize that in fact, I know absolutely nothing?  What if I accidentally sleep for 48 hours straight and miss the exam at 4PM?  I continuously remind myself that these fears, while justified, are only fears, and everything will be fine. 

 

  1. Coffee, or energy drinks, or gummy worms, or anything else will help you through it all.

My Finals Week drug of choice is Starbucks iced coffee.  Anytime I go to the Lib to study or just on campus for an exam, I have to make a pit stop at good ol’ Starbz to order “a venti vanilla iced coffee, please.”  I swear I can’t get anything done without it.  That stuff is like magic pay-attention juice.  Find your addiction, and let it fuel you through this time.

 

  1. It’s easier to study with friends, but it can also be more difficult.

There’s nothing quite like sitting in a room with your best friends—all damn-near insane from stress, lack of sleep, and only surviving on coffee—laughing and trying to study for the rest of your exams.  These can be some of your best memories from college.  It is especially great if you have the same classes, but it is also important to take a break from these and study on your own sometimes.  Friends can be a study aid, as well as a distraction; so, remember to use your time wisely, and take a break from everybody if you need to.

 

  1. Things may not go smoothly.

You could walk into an exam feeling cool as a cucumber, and walk out feeling like you could vomit.  You could also walk out feeling even better than walking in.  No one knows exactly what to expect on your exam except the professor.  As long as you’re in good standing in the class, and your professor is like most, the outcome of your final should not “make or break” your grade.  If you felt absolutely awful after the exam, most professors will usually be understanding if you go to them and explain your hard work throughout the semester (of course, you should be truthful with this.)  I can’t make any promises, but if you were a decent student throughout the semester and just bombed this last grade, your professors will sometimes help you out—your grades reflect on their work, too.

 

  1. Thinking positive may seem impossible, but it will make things better.

There is a light at the end of every tunnel.  No matter how stressed, or tired, or crazed, you may get throughout the week, remember that it will be over eventually.  Remember to think positively about every aspect of studying and exams, especially your grades.  I personally, will start slacking on my studying as soon as I start thinking that I may not be able to learn all the material.  As long as I think positively about studying and the test itself, I usually feel pretty good once it’s over.

 

  1. It will end. And you will live.

Thankfully, finals week is only one week out of the semester.  Those five days may feel like utter hell, and you may feel like it’s the end of the world; but like any other week, it will be over on Friday.  And (as long as you’re over 21) it will end with the ever-glorious Bar Crawl on Friday night, and maybe even graduation on Saturday.  No matter how bad finals week may make you feel, walking out of that last final will lift a load off your shoulders, and leave you feeling accomplished and ready for winter break.  

 

I hope you can all take these bits of advice into consideration, and kill it on your finals!  Good luck!

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