Whether it’s your first or your last finals week, it really doesn’t seem to get any easier. As I am approaching finals week (and many other people across the world are as well) and have many others under my belt, I wanted to share with you all how I cope with the stress, anxiety, and never-ending feeling of “did I turn this assignment in?” Here are some tips and tricks on walking through finals week like a champ!
Sleep More, Study Less.
This sounds like an oxymoron, I know. Just trust me. While studying is necessary and needed to pass your exams, sleep is actually much more important. Your brain can only handle so much information in one day and eventually starts to shut down and not retain information. So if you study until 10 PM and then get seven hours of sleep you will actually have studied more than someone who stayed up all night studying. It’s better to know half of the information really well than to barely know all the information.
This morning at around 8 AM I walked into the library at my school to see someone passed out in a dark room. Their laptop was open… a pizza box was sitting next to them… and they had four bottles of empty Mountain Dew strewn around them. (I can’t make this stuff up.) This seems like a martyr response to college but this will do far more harm than good. For credibility purposes: this is my seventh college finals week. Cramming never works… ever. I always get a far better grade when I actually slept the night before. So shut your laptop, put away your index cards, and relax.
Eat… Good Food.
I often contradict myself here because it’s always far easier and cheaper to get Taco Bell than to make yourself a meal that meets all health requirements. I also rarely eat breakfast, especially when I’m in a rush to get to my exams. Please do the exact opposite of me. Whenever I actually eat breakfast (even just a Clif bar… limit the sugar), I feel so much more focused and confident on my exams. If your exams aren’t until the afternoon, or you have a break, pack a solid lunch to eat.
Give yourself the right kind of energy you need and not artificial energy. While coffee may be the most delicious beverage to ever exist, it’s best to keep your coffee count at one or two if you aren’t eating. Even if you are eating, more than two cups of coffee are going to create a false idea that you are energized, ensuring a horrible crash once you get to your second or third final of the day. Coffee is great, but you really need food more.
Spend Time Organizing.
While your first priorities are to sleep, study, and eat, you also need to set aside some time to organize. You can’t study properly if you don’t know what you really need to study. You can’t write that amazing final essay without knowing what you need to right first. Take thirty minutes to figure out what you need to get done and how you need to get it done. Going at it blindly will only make it worse. You could end up spending precious time studying something that isn’t even going to be on the exam (if only you read those instructions more carefully!). You don’t need to have everything color-coded or perfect, just make sure you have your head on a little straighter.
Remember: This is Only Temporary.
This is honestly the most important thing you could possibly take away from all of this. This is one week, of your whole life, it is just a couple of tests, it is simply not the end of the world. I have witnessed countless people have emotional breakdowns during finals week. I, myself, have been one of those people. But here’s the thing: it always gets done. And if it doesn’t? Oh well. Move on. You are at the beginning of your life, one bad final grade won’t change your entire existence. Even if it means that you fail a class… take the class again. That’s it. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t that big of a deal.
I wish you all the least stressful finals week ever! Conquer this knowing that you are an amazing and incredibly smart person! Remember that a grade is just a grade, it does not justify your worth. A grade cannot tell you how kind, genuine, or loving you are. You are a champion… no matter what. Let’s do this! x