You’re Going to Live: A Guide to Surviving Finals

Finals are the bane of every college student’s existence. Chances are you’re already exhausted from a long hard semester, and you’re looking forward to a much-needed break between semesters. You want to crash. You want to throw in the towel, but you can’t. One horrible week stands between you and a little time to recover before the next semester. Trust me; you are going to live. You just need to know how to survive.

Balancing Sanity with Sacrifice

You have to sacrifice a lot of your regular free time during finals week. Otherwise, you won’t have a chance to get everything done. However, you shouldn’t give up all your down time in the name of academia because you’ll burn out, snap, and you won’t perform as well on your final tests and papers. Burnout work is never your best work. So, who do you stay sane and still get everything done?

Plan, Prepare, Play

There is an overwhelming amount of work during finals week. So, sit down for an hour and make a hard copy schedule of everything you need to do, all your deadlines and test dates, and what you’re going to do to reward yourself for hard work. Yes, you’re going to schedule play time. Your pace should be rigorous to meet all your goals, but every day you should give yourself a healthy reward for your hard work. Schedule in a walk, a few hours playing video games, a trip to a friend’s place, a movie, or a couple of episodes of your favorite TV show.

Don’t Stack Your Stresses

It’s hard enough to get ready for finals without all the extra stress of daily life. This is the week to avoid unnecessary stress in your life. Avoid making big decisions, try not to get into arguments with your family, friends, and roommates, and take care of yourself.

You don’t want to get sick during finals, so get enough sleep, make healthy eating choices, and consider popping a multivitamin. If you drink, watch your alcohol intake. Getting drunk while you study isn’t as productive as you might think. If you drink caffeine, be careful not to drink so much of it that you get anxious and jittery. Balance should be your goal.

Decompression Time

Have you ever thought of one word so much it started sounding foreign? The same thing can happen when you stare at one assignment, concept, or chapter too long. Sometimes, taking a ten-minute unscheduled break to walk away is the best thing you can do to prepare for a test. Get up and move. Stretch out, get some air, cry if you need to, or call a friend. Give yourself frequent opportunities to blow off a little steam, so you don’t boil over. Ten minutes won’t kill your schedule.

Plan a Big Reward

Finals week is one of the hardest parts of your college experience. Help yourself stay motivated by planning a big reward for yourself at the end of it. Plan a party to celebrate, go shopping, take a short road trip to somewhere exciting, or go on a camping trip. Do something to treat yourself. You earned it.

Finals week doesn’t have to break you. Focus on making a plan, giving yourself small rewards, and keeping a balanced but rigorous schedule, and you’ll pull through. When you think about it, you’ve been preparing for finals all semester. All you have to do is get ready to prove how much you know.



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