This is it. The final lap, leg, or whatever term you want to call it. We are so close to the end of the semester, to the end of waking up at ungodly hours (at least in my case) to attend in-person or Zoom lectures. We are so close to the end of pop quizzes, discussion boards, and exams that we may or not be prepared for. It should be cause for celebration, right? Wrong.
As close as we are, we still aren’t done. If this were some fantasy novel, we are at the point where the knight has entered the castle after his long and harrowing journey to rescue the princess (forgive me for this outdated analogy, I fully believe the princess can rescue herself, but it just makes sense in this context). His joy and elation at the thought of reuniting with the princess is spoiled by the monstrous beast he must now defeat. In our case, the monstrous beast is finals.
Finals get the best of all of us, after all they’re called finals for a reason. They are the real last lap, the dragon we must slay before we reach the glory of summer break. But this particular dragon causes me an unreasonable amount of stress that I would like to do anything to avoid. Recently, I have found some ways to manage this finals stress, and I hope that these will not only help during finals, but help others manage their own stress.
1) Take A Walk
Tulane is blessed to be located so close to a large and beautiful park right across St. Charles: Audubon Park. On warm, sunny, spring days, there is nothing more beautiful than taking a stroll along the path and listening to some of your favorite music or podcasts to help set things in perspective. The lake with its signature swan is always pristine, and if you get tired of walking there are numerous benches for you to sit on and admire the view. While it’s not nature related, one of the reasons I go to the park to destress is not only to get in some much-needed exercise, but to see people walking their adorable dogs along the way.
A new hobby of mine is to try meditation. As a skeptic originally, I used to see no value in sitting alone, doing absolutely nothing, while listening to someone tell you how to breathe. If anything, it seemed pointless and felt like a complete waste of my time. But recently, as my own stress levels have risen, I have found the joy in doing nothing but listening to your body and focusing on your breathing, as it helps to calm my mind and relax my body.
3) Use Technology To Zone Out
Sometimes, our brain just needs some mindless content after studying and working all day. As an avid book-lover, writing this piece of advice is hard, but I’ve found that when we are stressed, our generation no longer turns to books to decompress. While I will always support reading for relaxation, sometimes we just need to turn on a good comedy on Netflix, or listen to our favorite songs on Spotify, or even scroll for hours on TikTok (guilty) to truly feel decompressed.
4) Actually Study
One of the best pieces of advice I had ever heard was the best way to stop stressing over something you have to get done is to just start getting it done. Procrastination is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, and there is a fine line between taking care of yourself and putting off assignments or studying. Once you feel more relaxed, it is time to return to the task at hand and GET IT DONE. Believe me, even if you have 1,000 assignments due tomorrow, turning in just one right now can feel like a major win and lower your stress levels.
Whatever beast is about to come your way, don’t stress over it. Because in every good fairytale, there is always the promise of a happily ever after and finishing these finals is ours.