Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

We have already been through one round of finals due to the new (and hopefully temporary) module system. But this time, we are doing finals from home. And if we learned anything from the abrupt ending to last semsester, it's that finals are infinitely more stressful at home than at school. 

Of course, some of the same tips still apply: make a to-do list, work at the time you are most productive, and take breaks as needed. These steps will always help you establish a productive schedule for a hectic week. But taking exams and writing papers from home requires its own set of advice. Here are some tips for preparing for finals at home to make sure that this finals week is as organized and stress-free as possible:

It's All About Designated Spaces

During the summer while interning remotely, I struggled to find separation between working and relaxing because, at the end of each day, all I had really done (besides stare at my laptop) was move from my bed to my desk and back again. Not having differentiated where I interned and where I watched Netflix or read my book impacted my stress levels over the summer, so upon returning from campus, I decided to complete work in the dining room and attend classes and meetings in my bedroom where the wifi is stronger. I find that having designated spaces for certain tasks not only improves my productivity and motivation levels, but also keeps me more sane when it’s hour six or eight of staring at your laptop.

- Elizabeth Berry ‘21

To Outline or Not To Outline (Hint: It's the First One.) 

So, this one applies mainly to my fellow essay writers out there, but even if you aren't writing papers, I would still recommend making a study schedule, or at least a list of the order in which you want to finish your assignments and classes. I know that making outline is very dependent on your personal preference: you either love them or hate them. Trust me, I didn't start writing outlines until I got to college, but I am here to make the case for why you should make an outline. First, it doesn't have to be super detailed. An outline, even if it's a numbered list of single words, can just be a way for you to starting thinking about your ideas (a brainstorm of sorts). During finals, when you have a bunch of papers to write at the same time, I find that it's hard to (1) know where to start and (2) stay motivated through all of them. At the beginning of finals week, or usually right before it starts, I try to make an outline for each of my upcoming papers. Most of my outlines aren't complete thoughts, and they almost never have complete sentences, but they are a place where I start to write down some ideas about how I am going to organize my paper, and what evidence and arguments I want to make throughout. The biggest reason why I suggest writing outlines ahead in advance of writing the papers, though, is because you won't have to start from scratch every time you finish a paper. Instead, you'll be able to build from what you have already started, which will allow you to move through your finals more smoothly and without losing as much motivation. In a semester that is already stressful enough, this is a simple way to make it just a little bit easier on yourself.

- Elizabeth Vinson, '21

Tell Your Family or Roommates Your Finals Schedule

One of the most stressful parts about taking finals from home is having to complete them with people constantly around you. While a key part of this is designated spaces like Elizabeth Berry says, the other part is communicating about what you need during your finals week. Let's face it: our finals are a bit late this year, and most of our friends and siblings (if they are at other colleges) have already finished their finals, which means they are in full-on winter break mode. Whether you are at home with your family, or living with roommates, it's best to tell them ahead of time what days and at what times you need them to be quiet and when you don't want to be disturbed. This will help not only with limiting the distractions around you, but also with reducing any conflict or stress that may arise from interruptions. 

- Elizabeth Vinson, '21

Don't Forget About Self-Care

Maybe the most important thing to remember during finals is to take care of yourself! During stressful times, it's still necessary to take time for yourself in order to stay healthy, mentally and physically. Sometimes, it's as simple as taking a nap, or watching an episode of a TV show. Othertimes, you might need to make time for sitting down and eating dinner away from workspace, or you might need to vent someone. Whatever works best for you, balancing de-stressing self-care while completing finals is a must. Check out Her Campus's Instragram post for virtual ways to de-stress!

- Elizabeth Vinson, '21

It may seem overwhelming now, but just remember: after you finish your finals, the winter holidays will be in full swing, and you'll be off for a month. Good luck, camels!

Elizabeth Berry

Conn Coll '21

Elizabeth Berry is an English and Italian Studies double major at Connecticut College with a passion for journalism. She enjoys overnight oats, traveling to new cities, and reading the night away.
Elizabeth, originally from just outside of Chicago, is a senior graduating early from Connecticut College where she is majoring in English with Psychology and History minors. She has an insatiable appetite for a compelling story and hopes to use that passion to pursue a career in publishing in a big city. If she’s not reading or writing another essay, she is binge-watching a new TV series, scrolling through Pinterest, baking cookies, or hanging out with family and friends.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️