The whole semester comes down to one, hectic, stressful week: finals week. After four years of taking final exams in high school, and four years of exams in college, I’ve perfected a system for staying sane during this time. It all comes down to a few helpful hints to keep in mind.
- Stay organized – Keep a log of all the important due dates and test dates you have. Write it out in your planner or on an empty calendar page and keep it right in front of you while studying. Having a written list of your commitments makes it easier to keep track of them and actually focus on your work. Also, clean your room or move your work to a space that isn’t cluttered. If your desk is a distraction – grab your laptop and move to the school library.
- Sweat out the stress – The worst thing you can do is push exercising to the side. Yes, a busy schedule makes assignments a priority, but in order to complete assignments well and to keep a sane mind, working out is just as much of a priority. For me, doing yoga is the best way to clear my head, but anything that wakes your body up is helpful. This includes walking your dog, going for a run or playing baseball with your little cousin. Even 20 to 30 minutes of some type of exercise helps you re-center your focus and gives you a positive way to procrastinate on that research paper.
- Stop overloading on caffeine – I’m not saying that you need to be a health freak during finals week. While it would be ideal to keep a handful of healthy snacks around, a lot of us crave comfort foods when stressed. So at least keep this in mind: coffee and Red Bull are not a food source. Healthy carbohydrates such as deli bagels and English Muffins offer protein and energy. Caffeine temporarily gives you a false sense of having energy and feeling full, but as soon the rush wears off, you’re left exhausted and with an empty stomach. Balance your energy drinks with lots of water – which helps refresh and fuel your body naturally. And make sure you take breaks for snacks or meals every two hours.
- Sleep – College is where you learn the wonderful skill of taking naps and finals week is the perfect time to take advantage of it. It’s important to give yourself enough time to take power naps in between marathon study sessions, especially if you’ve been up all night cramming for an 8:30 a.m. exam. In order to let your brain retain the information you’re saturating it with, you need to give it time to rest and process it all. Otherwise you’re just flushing out all the excess new dates, numbers and names.
- Save your work and your sanity – One of the worst things that can happen during finals week is losing a paper or project that you’ve spent hours working on. Save, save and save your work as often as possible. Also, place back up copies of your work online or on a flash drive. I save copies of my important papers online under my Google documents account, just in case my laptop crashes or dies when I need it most.
Follow these rules and you should make it through the week just fine. Good luck everyone!
– Katherine Kulpa, Editor-in-chief