It’s that time of the semester, ladies and gentlemen! The moment that literally nobody has been waiting for. Drum-roll, please…
I know how you’re feeling right about now— ready to rip your hair out, haphazardly emailing all of your professors to try and get some last minute extra credit, and crying because you can’t find enough hours in the day to accomplish all that you should for the end of the semester. You’re not alone. If you are just as overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out about finals week as pretty much every other college student, then sit back, relax, and procrastinate studying by reading this Finals Week Survival Guide.
Tip #1: Plan ahead.
I know, I know, it seems like a waste of precious time to plan out how you’ll be spending the rest of the semester, but trust me, it’s worth it and can save you time in the long run! I decided to be proactive this semester and plan ahead for the end of the semester after Thanksgiving break, and I don’t think I could have survived without doing so. Make sure you are aware of all of your upcoming due dates and exam dates and plan when you are going to start working on each assignment or studying for your exams. Even if you don’t stick to it exactly, you will have something to hold you accountable for and to keep you on track.
Tip #2: Find a good study spot.
If you haven’t already found a spot on campus that helps you focus, now is the time. Whether it be a certain room in the library, at a little coffee shop downtown, in your dorm room, the lounge in your dorm, in an academic building, or anywhere else, find somewhere that helps you to be motivated and focused. Be realistic with yourself; if you are studying in your room but find that you are consistently getting distracted, find somewhere else to work. Everybody has different preferences for where and how they study— find what works for you, and stick to it.
Tip #3: Take breaks.
Go to the gym. Take a shower. Go grab a bite to eat. Watch one (and I mean one) episode of Netflix.
It’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to sit down and study for six straight hours. Cut yourself some slack! Your studying will be more productive if you aren’t completely burned out. Do whatever it is you need to do to de-stress, and then get back in the zone.
Tip #4: Eat healthily.
Even though we college students like to think we are invincible, we can only run on Redbull, coffee, and Ramen Noodles for so long. Nutrition is especially important during times of high stress. Even if you feel like you don’t have time to eat a proper meal, make time. Your body needs nutritious foods to get through all of the stress you’re under. If you eat junk, you’ll feel like junk! The worst time to get sick is during finals week, so take care of your body.
Tip #5: Teach someone.
According to several studies done about the fundamentals of learning, the best way to remember something is to teach someone else about it. It sounds stupid and may even feel kind of silly, but teaching someone about a topic is the best way to understand the material. Whether it be a classmate, your friend, your roommate, your professor/TA, your pillows, or even the mirror, try to teach somebody about the topics you are studying. You will retain more information than when you just read, and if you get to a topic that you’re not particularly familiar with, you can make a note to yourself to go back and take a look at that material.
Tip #6: Use online resources.
So many people don’t realize how many online tools are out there for educational use. Quizlet, Khan Academy, Youtube, and even Google can be your best friends during this “crunch time.” Also, it’s always a good idea to check your textbook for any additional resources that the publishers might offer. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that many textbooks come with online tools to help you understand the materials!
Tip #7: Go to review sessions and office hours.
Most professors and TA’s want to help you, no matter how intimidating they may seem. Go see your professor during their office hours if you have a question about something. Ask a TA to clarify anything you don’t understand. Attend any review sessions available— they can only help you, not hurt you! A lot of times, if a professor sees that you are putting in an effort to succeed, they will be more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt when grading.
Tip #8: Breathe.
You CAN and WILL get through this week, no matter how long and stressful it may feel. You’re almost done! Take a deep breath and power through the last few days before break.
Tip #9: CELEBRATE!
As soon as you walk out of that last final, you are DONE. You (hopefully) worked hard all semester, and you finally get a chance to relax. Celebrate— you’ve earned it!