A Finals Survival Guide

It’s. Here. The worst, most miserable, soul-shattering time of year has come, once again. Finals are here and they are here to stay. If you have been through finals before, you’re a little more prepared, and have a decent understanding about what’s gonna go down. But if you are a freshman, boy, are you in for a storm. Yes, it’s the end of the semester, and we’re all excited to have a well-deserved  winter break, but that means you only have two weeks to finish your regular weekly assignments and complete your big end of semester projects/take your final tests. The time crunch and importance of the heavily weighted tests and assignments is enough to make any and every college student breakdown in public. Although, finals never get easier (in fact, they get worse), here are some tips to make this year’s finals less miserable.

1. Get organized

Out of all the tips I give you, this is hands down thee most important. Plan ahead. Finals takes place in the smallest amount of time possible and demands all your attention and effort. You need to look at your classes and figure out what days you need to study or complete assignments for which class. Most of your assignments/final tests won’t be occurring on the same day, but your free days, meaning your days where you have free time to study or do the assignments, can happen on the same day or you most likely only have one day to do that assignment based off of your schedule. Mark in your calendar what day you need to complete a certain assignment or study for a particular class. Live and breathe by your calendar. Honestly, it’s the only way you are surviving this.


2. Make a checklist

It doesn’t have to be a physical one. I create mental checklists (because of my OCD-like nature) of all the things I need to get done today, tomorrow, this week, etc. Creating a physical checklist stresses me out more because it’s another piece of paper that takes up wasted space and time (plus i’m really anal retentive, so it’s impossible for me to forget an assignment or something). But, if you are a normal human being who can forget things from being under a lot of stress, create a physical checklist. It can either be on a notebook page or you can use your handy dandy note or reminder app on your phone. It really just depends on you. If you tend to lose things, keep it on your phone, If you feel better after physically crossing something off, write it down on paper. However you decide to keep your assignments and to-do’s in order, just make a checklist of your preference because it will allow you to see what assignments you need to complete next, how many you have left and how many you’ve turned in. There is no better feeling on this planet, than checking off an assignment that’s been stressing you out for weeks. It’s a glorious, almost spiritual feeling, that I want to share with you.


3. Cry it out

No one is going to judge you for it. This is the most stressful, agonizing time of the year and it gets to everybody. There’s a lot on your plate that you have to do to successful finish out your semester. You are exhausted from the semester as a whole, the last assignments are the lengthiest in time, effort and have the biggest impact on your grade and you have to do all of this in less than a two week time period. I’m crying already. It’s not healthy to bury all your stress and anxiety, and will only make your mental breakdown worse. So, scream into your pillow while your roommate is in the shower, pull over in your car and cry into your steering wheel or even have a big ol’ cry fest with your friends. Know that you aren’t alone and there is a life after finals. They feel like they might kill you, but eventually, you’ll come out on the other side. But, for now, let the waterworks flow baby. You deserve it.


4. Take small breaks

Procrastination and a small attention span is what makes up the human body. You are going to be studying and doing assignment for hours on end. There will be nights where you might have to pull an all-nighter in order to finish a final group project. Regardless of major, you are going to have a lot to do. No one can do all their assignments and scheduled in study time nonstop. If your friend can do that, they aren’t human. Call the FBI because your friend is a straight up alien lifeform. Between each assignment, take a 15 minute break. It’s not gonna kill you, it will actually really benefit you. Your brain needs time to relax and not do anything. Giving yourself a break will help re-energize and refresh your brain so, it can continue to do those assignments and long study sessions. Watch a Vine compilation to remember what laughter and happiness is, scroll through finals memes to help you feel apart of something bigger than yourself or take a little nap.


5. Snacks

You need to refuel. Plus, food triggers endorphins and you need to bring some happy vibes into finals week. Going and going without getting the nutrients your body needs is just going to slow you down. Your work won’t be as good as it could be because your mind can’t focus and assert itself properly. When you are heading to the library, grab yourself a little goody bag on the way out the door. Grab a small bag of carrots, pretzels, popcorn and peanut butter. You need the protein from the peanut butter, healthy nutrients from the veggies and some salt to keep you satisfied. Stay away from the sugary snacks because they will lead to a big sugar crash. Also, be wary of your caffeine intake.  


I hope these tips help you not only survive finals, but ace them. It’s a high stakes environment and everyone is on edge, but try to go in with a positive attitude and a game plan. Now, stop reading this article and get to studying, you little procrastinator you.


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