How to Stay Stress Free During Finals

It’s that time of year again...the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and university students everywhere are preparing for finals. Whether it’s a project you didn’t begin early enough, an exam that was NOTHING like the study guide, or, in my case, a ten-page term paper over a topic you know nothing about, finals are stressful.  But how does one stay stress free? 

I asked this question to college students on my Instagram story, and surprisingly received a lot of responses. Several of them were jokes, like “drink matcha tea and convince myself nothing is real”, or “cry,”. Several people suggested taking a Netflix break or listening to music. One person even said, “take longer showers.” 

Other suggestions that have actually been proven to work were making a game plan, eating healthy snacks, and using the Pomodoro technique. If you are not familiar with the Pomodoro technique, it’s a method where one picks a task and works on it for 25 minutes with no distractions. After the 25 minutes is up, one takes a five minute break. Every four 25 minute intervals, or “pomodoros”, take a fifteen to twenty-minute break.  

Good studying techniques can also help alleviate stress during finals. Making notecards, studying in a group, or even finding the perfect study spot are all ways to stay focused while studying. Some quiet and comfortable UT spots are the Student Activity Center, which has a Starbucks on the first floor for a much-needed caffeine boost, the Life and Science Library, which is a no cell phone and no talking zone, and the Bill and Melinda Gates computer science building.  

Time management is extremely important during finals because it ensures that you don’t have a million essays to write on a single day.  If you don’t have a planner (which is definitely a worthwhile investment), there are several planning apps and websites that will help you get the job done. The app ZenDay shows you a timeline of your current tasks and the ones in the future, and the app AwesomeCalendar includes color coding, notes, calendar events, and even the weather forecast (if you’re feeling like studying outside). You can also sync up your calendar with that of your friends. If you’re looking for a free option, Google Calendar is a classic choice, and the Do! App for ios allows for you to create widgets out of your to do lists. 

Other tips to keep in mind during exam season include unplugging from social media to minimize distraction while studying, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, exercising, and even talking with family and friends. Happy studying!