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It’s that time of year—the air gets a little more humid, the sun shines a little brighter, and the promise of summer feels closer and closer. For a college student, however, nearing the end of the school year signifies one of the worst weeks of their whole year: finals week. Finals week feels like a giant storm cloud looming over my head, blocking me from a future of sun and warm weather with no obligations. But never fear, as impossible as it may sound, there are a few simple tips and tricks to make the seemingly unbearable week feel bearable, and I’m here to share them with you. While some may seem like very normal tasks, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself in even the most simple of ways during exams!

Make a to-do list

Listing your assignments and tasks for exam week repeatedly in your head may be overwhelming—try writing them down! Whether it’s in your favorite notebook, the Notes app, or even a sticky note, making a to-do list can make your mountain of impending tasks feel doable. Try to delegate time for each task and offer yourself a little reward for each one you complete (I’m partial to buying candy after each task, but it’s up to you!) Taking the time to write things down may help you visualize what needs to be done and help you stay organized throughout final

Exercise

While grinding in the library for hours may seem productive, taking care of your body is just as important as taking care of your assignments! Working out is a productive way to deal with stress and take a break from studying, while still maintaining a healthy routine. Whether you decide to walk outside with friends or make gains in the weight room, exercising will serve you well and help you take care of your physical health despite your stress.

Don’t pull all-nighters

Most studies show that our brains work better when they’re well-rested! If it’s past 9 p.m., put down the coffee and try some herbal tea to prepare for a good night’s rest. It may seem like you need to study non-stop, but it’s important that you tackle your workload feeling well-rested and refreshed. Even taking a nap during the day can help your mind rest and reset so you can be at your best when you’re hitting the books. Sleep is essential during finals week, so put down the pencils at a reasonable time and get some zzz’s

Meditate

I know this sounds ridiculous. Why would you meditate when you’ve got an exam worth 40% of your grade the next day and a 10-page paper due by midnight? Listening to a guided meditation and practicing calming breathing techniques can help you center yourself and stay focused. Meditation can also help reinforce serene, positive thinking, helping you achieve your best self so you feel like a million bucks when you walk into your exam later. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Calm app, and even use it to help me sleep (hello tip #3) when my mind just won’t seem to shut up

Stay Hydrated

Listen, this may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget simple things when you’re under intense stress. Coffee or any kind of caffeinated drink may seem like it holds the key to all of your productivity and success; however, it’s important to drink lots of water to stay healthy and help prevent fatigue. Caffeine is great, but your body needs to stay hydrated in order to help you stay feeling your best during finals week. Put some reminders on your phone, or write it down in your planner, any way to help you remember to stay drinking water on a regular basis. Put down the latte and pick up your hydro flask (or any kind of water bottle—I use a reusable Starbucks cup)!

Finals week is always one of the most stressful times so I hope these tips help you relax a bit. Even reminding yourself to stick to a routine and do regular tasks to nurture your body and mind can make a huge difference. These tips might not help you ace your finals but I guarantee they will help you will feel better during your study sessions. Good luck with finals!

Natalie is a sophomore at Colby College studying History and English. She loves to bake(her favorite dessert to make is cake)and is open to trying any outdoor activity. Her favorite book is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
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