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Balancing Finals and The Holiday Season

Upon returning to classes from Thanksgiving Break, finals hit, to put it lightly, like a semi-truck. However, for many, the holiday season also picks up almost as soon as the Thanksgiving dinner table is cleared. As a student, it may be hard to find motivation for studying, or you might feel sad about missing some of your family holiday traditions. Here are some tips to stay festive, motivated, and healthy throughout the final weeks of Fall semester!

PC: American Eagle

Make a Holiday Music Study Playlist​​

So Mariah Carey’s All I Want Christmas is You is not exactly the best to listen to while doing calc practice problems but there are tons of acoustic and indie takes on classic holiday songs, that can make up a pretty sweet holiday study playlist. Need some inspiration? Spotify’s Acoustic Christmas or the holiday albums by Jack Johnson, She & Him, and Sufjan Stevens are a great place to start.


Plan Productive Study Breaks

It is important to review and prepare for finals but study breaks are so necessary as well! Utilize your best time management skills in these next few weeks and plan productive, holiday-themed, study breaks.Grab some friends and go for a drive around the local area and admire the holiday lights, or take a couple hours to get some holiday gift shopping done. If it’s snowing or just too cold for human activity, heat up some hot chocolate and stream a holiday movie from your bed. Also don’t let finals make you miss any holiday parties, plan accordingly and use those as ways to relax and refuel before returning to the books.

PC: Milk Bubble Tea

Schedule Time for Yourself

I know part of the holiday spirit is extra generosity and the joy of giving but the holidays and finals are often times when people let their own well-being go by the wayside to be with others or benefit their grades. The hard truth is that nobody or nothing (read as: your fam, friends, and chem final) will benefit from you not being 100%. Put a little more emphasis on treating yo’ self and personal care during this time; even if literally means penciling in times to shower (we’ve all been there). Make sure to not let typical personal daily activities such as the gym, journaling, facemasks, or even just sleeping become a lower priority just because it is a busy time of the year.

PC: Taste Of Home

Facetime for the Special Holiday Traditions

Does your family always do a huge holiday baking day, or is decorating the tree a crazy chaotic over-the-top fun family ordeal? There’s no reason you can’t get a taste of the fun from your dorm. Using Facetime, Skype, or even just a call home for a few minutes while Mom and Dad make batches upon batches of Latkes will for sure get you in the holiday spirit no matter how many miles are separating you.


Spend a couple extra points (or dollars if you’re off campus) for Wintery Coffee

You’re lying if you say you don’t have a favorite winter coffee or drink. Spend a lil’ extra to have your fav holiday flavors added to your coffee before you go lock yourself in the library.


PC: Pinterest

Wear a Holiday Sweater the Day of Your Final

I’m a big proponent of comfy dress ~always~. Come into your final rockin’ a crazy dreidel sweater or a Rudolph sweater complete with a red pom pom nose to ace your not only final but holiday cheer!

PC: Pinterest

Decorate Your Room

This one may seem obvious but if you are used to decorating at home, bring your inner interior decorator to campus and get or make a few holiday decorations for your room. This could include signs for your door, tinsel, string lights, wreaths, and ribbons.


Send or Receive a Holiday Care Package

Are you the resident baker in your family? Or do you always send super cute holiday cards? Take a day to whip up a batch of your fam’s fav cookies and ship them home. Or maybe Aunt Sally makes the sweetest fudge ever? Drop some hints the next time you talk that your hall would absolutely love some fudge to get through finals.


Incentivize your Studying

If I finish my flashcards, then I can have some of that eggnog I just got for my dorm…​

PC: Total Sorority Move

Spread the Holiday Cheer When You Can

While the holidays are the greatest time of the year for some, they can also bring on social pressures, sadness, and other emotions that may not be thought about at surface value for others. Even just the mix of finals and the holidays could be overwhelming for many. Take extra time when you can to be understanding, spread positivity, and check-in with friends.


Kalianni is a Junior at Brandeis majoring in American Studies and minoring in HSSP and Legal Studies. When she isn't writing for HerCampus she can be found traveling, face timing her dog, or eating copious amounts of tacos.
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