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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As I am writing this, snow is currently falling on campus. While snow is supposed to symbolize the holiday season and excitement, at Penn State snow is a symbol of finals week rapidly approaching. Finals week is always the worst week every year in that stress is at an all-time high and sleep is at an all-time low. As a Junior going into my fifth finals week, I’d like to think that I’ve learned some things over the past couple of years that helped me to stress less during finals week. While obviously, I can never fully get rid of the stress that finals week brings, here are ways to stress less before finals week.

Make a study schedule

This is a strategy I implemented my first semester, and it has made my life a lot less stressful. A major reason students are so stressed before finals week is that they have so many classes to study for and have no idea where to start. About two weeks before finals, I took into account what other assignments I still have due for classes, and I made a study schedule that works around those assignments. I will also make it, so I am not studying any singular subject for too long in order to keep myself from getting frustrated. This method is great, and I highly recommend trying it this finals season.

get a decent amount of sleep

Okay, I understand that this can be very hard, but sleep is so important. In the weeks leading up to finals, the average amount of sleep that students get is around 1-3 hours, and that is not enough to sustain your brain while studying. By getting 7-9 hours of sleep (I know it’s going to be difficult) a night, you will be able to retain more information, leading to you being more efficient while studying. Please get some sleep; you’re going to need it.

do not rely on cramming

Yet another tip that is tough to implement in practice but is essential to remember. Cramming for exams is extremely common, and especially during finals week, students often rely on it to study. This method is not effective, especially as the night wears on and you get more tired, your brain does not retain the information you are studying. When taking the exam the next day, you can easily forget the information. That is why I believe you should stop studying at midnight because if you don’t know it at midnight, you’re not going to know it at 5 AM. By studying ahead of time and not cramming, you will be better prepared for the exam and less stressed.

Make Sure to eat

When studying, oftentimes, it can be hard to remember to eat meals because you are so invested in learning the material. When you don’t eat meals, your body doesn’t perform at its best because it doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, leading to less efficiency while studying. Eating meals relieves the stress on your body, which allows you to be more productive after digesting. Please remember to eat while studying; your body will thank you.

Take Breaks

Stress sometimes results from people refusing to give themselves breaks while studying. You need to give your brain a break at some point. Go on Tik Tok, watch a movie, bake something, do anything essentially but study for at least an hour a day. By giving yourself a break, you will be less stressed than if you continuously study for hours and do not let yourself relax. The only way to get through finals week is to allow yourself to take a break. 

By stressing less before and during finals week, you will be better able to study and succeed. I know that finals week will be stressful, but by following these tips, you should be able to have a more relaxing finals week, which is impossible to imagine.

Good luck and happy studying, collegiettes!

Reese Bernstein is a junior at Penn State majoring in Psychology with a focus in business. She is from "right outside" of DC in Northern Virginia. Along with writing for Her Campus, Reese is a member of a sorority and occasionally goes to the gym when feeling motivated.
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