How to Deal with Finals Week

Ladies, now that another semester has bypassed us in the blink of an eye, I hope that you have been able to enjoy the last few weeks before we head into finals week. For those of you who have not yet experienced the craziness that comes around this time on campus, this is your inside guide to how to deal. For those of you who have been around the block a few times, and still don’t know how to deal… this is for you too.

December in Cedar Falls is lovely. Simply driving down Main Street and seeing the twinkling lights and festive decorations can put me in a jolly mood for days. However, spending time anywhere but the library for weeks before finals can be extremely difficult, and can make you forget what a happy time of year it really is. Therefore, I have compiled tips to help you power through and even enjoy the hectic times awaiting you. 
1.     Plan. I am an avid planner. I have notes all over my planner, sometimes down to the hour outlining how to get everything done. I am also a procrastinator, so this type-a behavior is necessary. However the one time that I am able to make a plan and stick to it, is during finals. By now you should have an idea of what your professors are requiring from you for their classes, which means you will be able to figure out how much time to dedicate to each class and project/paper/test. It is now time to make a schedule. I am serious – even if you think you are going to be able to finish everything on time, this will alleviate unneeded stress. Once you have created your schedule make sure you have the necessary materials to complete each assignment to avoid last minute panic. Finally, follow it.
2.     Organize. Over the course of the semester, I’m sure you have received at least one sheet of notes from each class. Unfortunately, you might not know where that single sheet of paper is right now. That’s okay – you have time to find it, and I suggest that you do. Once you pinpoint it’s location, put it in a folder dedicated to that particular class, keep it with any texts you have, and don’t move it until you are ready to study or rip it into shreds (then recycle it!) once your final is over. Keeping all needed materials together for your classes allows for more effective use of your study time, allowing you time to enjoy other non-academic related activities.
3.     Rest. This is still an area that I have yet to master. I am definitely capable of managing late nights and early mornings, but I know that doesn’t apply to everyone… So simply put, get some rest. Full eight hours or frequent naps, doesn’t matter – just get it. You don’t want to the first day of the semester in which you oversleep to be the day of an exam.
4.     Break. Even though these weeks are tainted with finals prep, don’t turn down that coffee invitation, campus event, or movie night. It may seem irresponsible, however you really do need a break from studying, and spending time with people who are important to you is a great way to give your brain a rest and create some great college memories. If you just can’t manage the time to leave your study location, try to wake your brain by taking a walk around the building, grabbing something cold to drink, or making a phone call. This will give you a change of scenery, which will help you be able to focus longer.
There are many more tips I could offer you, stories of my own experiences to share, but these are the ones I consider the most essential for success. Make the most of these last few weeks, and I wish you the best as you finish for the semester!