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How to “Keep Calm and Carry On”- Finals Edition

I’m pretty sure every Collegiette has their own personal mantra they use to get them through stressful times. Mine comes from my old pal Teddy Roosevelt: “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” This phrase has helped me keep peace of mind in tough times this year, which is a skill I am still trying very hard to master.

Before gaining so much sophomore-ly wisdom and perspective, however, I was a frequent rider of the struggle bus. Frankly, I was a hot mess this time last year - I came back from Thanksgiving, all full of mama’s cooking and not realizing the storm that was awaiting my return. I had a 15-page HOD paper, a Buckles macro exam, an entire workbook of music theory to catch up on, a 10-page philosophy paper due (I was the only first-year in a class of seniors - needless to say, I took the course by accident), mock trial cross-examinations to perfect, and more looming over me.


Coming back from Thanksgiving was not as scary this time around, because I have learned a few strategies that help me keep my sanity through the finals period.

1. Make a list, check it twice.

The best way to not feel overwhelmed by finals is to figure out what exactly you need to do, and then break that work down into little chunks. I always make a list of everything (literally everything) I have to do before I go home. I draw a huge calendar on a poster and fill it in with my due dates. Then, I go through each assignment, project, or exam, and find a way to split it up so that I’m not just doing all the work a day or two before the due date (you also retain more information this way). I write these mini-assignments into my calendar.

2. Attend campus events that inspire you.

While making your calendar, be sure to include at least a few fun events that you can attend to keep your sanity. I find that the easiest way to do this is to simply attend a semester-ending Melodores concert, Original Cast show, VIBE performance, etc. Find some friends to go with you. You’ll lose one or two hours of work time, but it will give you something to refresh your mind and also something to look forward to throughout the week.

3. Use self-tanner.

I never feel more unattractive than during finals. I don’t eat as well as I should, I wear sweatpants 90% of the time, and I feel like a vampire because I’m inside studying during all daylight hours. A trick I’ve learned to get me through this self-depricating slump is investing in a good sunless tanner. My personal favorite is Fake Bake Original Lotion. Call me crazy, but I promise that a little bit of color makes all the difference.

4. Celebrate little victories.

For most people, finals could best be compared to being hit repeatedly in the face with a frying pan. It is important to realize, however, that just as frying pans can make pancakes, our struggles during this time can reap huge benefits (grades! jobs!). Recognize each item you cross off your list by treating yourself to a peppermint mocha, doing a happy dance, or taking some time off to watch Sex and the City. It’ll keep you motivated!

5. Exercise!

Exercise is never more important than it is during this time - see #3!

6. Have a mantra!

Develop your own, or have Dove chocolates create them for you! Inspire yourself by leaving little notes around - and don’t forget to help others by leaving notes for them as well!

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