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Mental Health

How to take care of yourself during finals season

Finals season has a stigma of being a long, daunting time of late nights and insurmountable stress. However, I think it is this stigma that makes it more difficult for college students, not the actual work. We take exams and write papers all semester long, but when it’s suddenly squeezed into a period of three weeks we lose the powers we’ve built up to be focused and organized students. Let’s not forget that it falls after a week of stuffing our faces with apple pie and pumpkin bread. Instead of putting so much pressure on this little chunk of time, I think we could all benefit from taking a step back and realizing it doesn’t have to be so hard. Here are some tips I’ve gathered after years of finals taking.

Don’t freak out and try to become a student you aren’t. If you normally go to bed at 2 am, don’t suddenly expect yourself to go to sleep at 10 pm and wake up at 8 am to have a full day of studying. Go to sleep when you’re tired, wake up for your classes or for a morning trip to the library, and get some real studying in when you have time. Try not to add extra anxiety for yourself by setting goals that aren’t necessarily achievable. Be realistic.

Don’t overplan. Sometimes you end up spending more time making a personalized, color-coded calendar as a way of putting off doing the actual work. Figure out the basics of what you need to do, maybe write it on a sticky note, and then just do the work.

Finals do approach quickly – it’s never too early to start studying. Most college students are procrastinators. Don’t try to change your whole study routine or techniques, but attempt to make small changes that will benefit you in the long run. Usually trying not to procrastinate leads to more procrastination, so don’t set any big goals and don’t create high expectations. Make plans right when you sit down, like saying “Ok. Finish this chapter and then take a break; finish three chapters before you go back to your room”. It’s much more achievable if you take things day by day, while keeping that end date of the final in mind.

Eat well and stay active. Even if you’re not a green smoothie fan or a gym freak, it’s always possible to take care of yourself. Take that extra five minutes to get some eggs and yogurt from the Bison, and don’t let the stress or time-consuming nature of studying get in the way of fueling your body. In between library sessions, take a walk, stretch, go visit a friend. Keep your body AND mind active throughout these next few weeks. If you’re a fan of the gym, use it to your advantage and take a gym break whenever you need a mental break. A nice workout is the best start to the day, or the best way to turn around a bad one.

As finals week approaches, try not to make it more difficult than it needs to be. The best thing we can do as students is prepare and put our best foot forward. Good luck, and remember to reach out for help whenever you need it!

Alicia Newman

Bucknell '24

Hi! I'm Alicia, a Sophomore at Bucknell studying Sociology and Pre-Law. When I'm not reading or writing, you'll probably find me eating lots and lots of guilty free carbs :)
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