Finals suck. There is no way around it. As someone who procrastinates every single year and then breaks down the night before the test or the paper is due (and promptly promises herself she'll NEVER PROCRASTINATE AGAIN but who are we kidding??) I know how painful the last few weeks of school can be. If you are a freshman, remember: you've done it once before and you can do it again. Sophomores and juniors, by now you know you've gotta show up to Howie T and claim your spot EARLY--ain't no time for messin' around! And seniors... YOU ARE SO CLOSE! Think about the glorious feeling that awaits you when you finish that last test or paper and just git 'er done.
The light is shining so bright at the end of the tunnel, my friends. But if you are like me and you feel like you are slowly drowning and screaming for help but no one can hear you and you may have to be scraped off of the Howie T floors at the end of finals week, here are some ideas for ways to treat yourself and keep your sanity intact because just like you think your grades are important, so is your mental health and your stress levels do NOT need to skyrocket.
1. Buy yourself some flowers, light a candle, and make your bed
I’ll be the first to admit, I am a slob. My room is in a constant state of disarray now that I live off campus and don’t have to worry about a roommate getting mad at me for being messy. But when your study space is messy, you can get distracted. So take ten minutes and spruce up your room before you hit the books! I buy myself flowers so I something pretty to look at when my eyes hurt from staring at my computer, light my favorite candle (Voluspa’s Saijo Persimmon, it is divine) and I make my bed so I can crawl into it victoriously at the end of the day. Do this for yourself. It is worth it.
(Isn't my bed pretty?!?!?!?)
2. Write it all out
I would literally fall apart if it weren’t for my planner, especially during finals when it feels like I should always be doing something and not wasting my time figuring out what I need to do… So before finals, plan it all out, day by day or if you need to, hour by hour. It will save you so much stress. Be sure to schedule in some time to relax too, you deserve it!
(I also am kind of crazy about using colored markers to make it look prettier...)
If your body feels good, so will your mind. So TREAT YO’ SELF to a walk around Audubon with a friend and stop to smell the beautiful blooming flowers, head to Reily for a jog around the track or a fitness class, or take 30 minutes to do some yoga... Yoga is my savior during finals week because it brings me back down to Earth when my head feels all whacked out from writing and reading like a fiend.
4. Get off campus for a change of scenery
Howie T is awesome, but it can be overwhelming to worry about getting a spot, seeing so many other people being so freaking productive when you aren’t, and when you get hungry but you’re scared to leave because someone will steal your stuff or your seat. So take a nice walk to one of the awesome coffee shops around campus (Mojo and Rue de la Course are personal favorites––get the strawberry limeade at Mojo or the iced chai at Rue) or take the streetcar to the library on St. Charles.
5. Make a dope playlist to listen to while you work
This one comes down to personal preference, but I cannot study or write unless I am listening to music. I like to listen to acoustic, guitar or piano based songs when I’m studying (my current favorites to listen to when I write are Dawes, Holy Holy, Blake Mills, The Shins, Alabama Shakes, Ryan Adams, Leon Bridges, and Chris Stapleton) and then when I feel like I need a break, I take 10 minutes to dance like an idiot around my room (usually to Jason Derulo because, let’s be honest, homeboy is SO underrated and underappreciated).
The main point here is to do something every day for yourself. Finals are not fun, but finals do NOT need to destroy you every semester. Above everything else, remember that no matter what: you is kind, you is smart, you is important––no grade can change that. May the force be with you.