The Cynic Method: How to Study for Finals

With finals week fast approaching, I am drawn down into the depths of despair. Studying for four massive tests seems like a task that cannot be tackled, since the amount and type of work that needs to be accomplished is somewhat vague. There is no exact number of hours, practice problems, or essay outlines that I am willing to designate for a test that is more than half of my grade.

Another fun sensation I experience during the time leading up to finals is pure anger. Why did I register for this class? Why does this subject even exist? Why didn't I start studying during week one? Why is the quarter system a neck-breaking roller coaster ride that refuses to slow, not even giving its passengers the chance to lean over the track and puke?

Disgusting imagery aside, finals are stressful and it can be easy to drown in negative emotions. This is why I invented what I like to call the "Cynic Method."

Essentially, I conduct an imaginary conversation between me and someone problematic (maybe a pretentious boy from my high school, maybe a judgmental coworker) where we discuss my major. The designated problematic person does everything in their power to criticize me for choosing my major and questions my intentions for my college career. This forces me to analyze my own intentions for my majors, and in turn gives me a few solid reasons as to why I want to study and ultimately do well in school. Sometimes when I'm really struggling to find motivation, I will actually jot down my intentions and tape them all up around my workspace to look at when my eyes roll back in my head from exhaustion or annoyance.

This method arose from a stress dream (another fun side-effect of finals) I had a couple days before a calculus exam. I was complaining to a certain annoying someone about how hard this class was, and how I thought that this math was useless because it was not applicable to my life or my future career, it was just a GE requirement. They asked me why I didn't just quit if it was hard. This infuriated me because I was overcome with the desire to prove them wrong. Not only could I understand this annoying subject, but I could conquer it.

In short, I study out of spite – Elle Woods style. While this may not be the healthiest source of inspiration, it has gotten me this far.