Jillian’s Declassified Finals Survival Guide

Among students, there is a collective presumption that once we reach Halloween, the rest of the semester tends to rapidly pass by. Think about it: how long did November feel like? It feels like Halloween was just yesterday. By the first of December, we can almost taste the freedom and joy. But like most things in life, we have to go through some challenges to get to the other side, the side that represents all good things. Everything feels better in the end when you know you have worked for it, right? At least that’s what we have to tell ourselves. Anyway, the only thing standing between you and never-ending Christmas music and your eggnog (in other words, true happiness) is finals week. Here are some tips to make you take finals and not the other way around (AKA surviving finals week)!

Computer desktop and laptop on wooden stands on desk Photo by Ken Tomita from Pexels

1. Get some rest

Beauty sleep is a thing we like to joke about and make fun of, but it seriously is so important! The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy, productive person is eight hours. I’m not here to tell you to get eight hours of sleep every night because I know, due to everyone’s differing schedules, that amount of sleep isn’t attainable for all of us. However, I am here to tell you to strive for whatever your eight hours are. We all know ourselves and know how many hours of sleep produces an efficient person the next day. If you usually get four hours of sleep, strive for six or seven! Just get more rest than you usually would on any given day the day before your finals.

2. Study

As much as we would love to think that we can look at our notes one time and the concepts will magically resonate in our memory, that’s simply not the case. You have to put in the work to get the desired results, so put in the work so you can relax over break knowing your grades are where you want them to be. Reach out to your professors or TAs, meet up with friends over coffee (safely, of course) or attend review sessions. I also recommend using a planner, as it’s a great way to help you stay organized. Do whatever it takes. It’s the last week before the end of the semester, so now isn’t the time to slack off.

3. Nutrition

Make good nutritional choices! Make sure you get up early enough to eat breakfast before a morning final or remind yourself to eat an early dinner before a nighttime final. We cannot access our true potential on empty stomachs. Food gives us fuel to stay energized and alert, things we need before major exams. Also, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. It’s good for you.

4. Positivity

Try to keep a positive mindset throughout the week. If Monday’s exam didn’t go as planned, you’ve got Tuesday’s exam in the bag. Don’t let setbacks get you down. You possess the ability to bounce back from anything. It’s all about mentality. If you tell yourself you’re going to fail, you might fail. If you tell yourself you can do it, you eventually start to believe you can and will perform well. Don’t forget the power of the tongue. There’s power in the things that we say to ourselves, so be nice to yourself. Be the head of your personal fan club and keep encouraging reminders in mind. Remember what you’re working hard for and that it will all be worth it soon.

Christmas bauble Photo by Freestocks from Unsplash

Lastly, I want to say that I’m proud of you! I gave a little tough love in my tips but look at you. You did it. Looking back over the past five months, you probably wonder, how did I get here? Where did the time go? Here’s a reminder that you got here through your own merit and hard work. It’s because of your resilience and dedication that you completed another semester. And even if you felt you could’ve done better this semester, all that matters is that you’re here and there’s always next semester. Right now, you get a well-deserved break! Time flies by when you’re having fun, so enjoy every second of it. 

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