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education productivity

A Quick Guide to Keeping Your Sh*t Together During Finals

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*Steps onto pedestal*

*Checks mic*

It’s time to talk finals.

(Moment of silence while I insert the appropriate, screaming-into-the-void gif here:)

Finals week is a cursed time. A dark time. A time to stress. A time to mourn. A time to weep. A time to accidentally get your arm stuck halfway up a vending machine at 9pm in an attempt to free a bag of chips, which ultimately leads to you weeping on the library floor for all to see. (Uh, hypothetically.)

I’m going back to school for my second degree, which means I’ve technically been through 7 years of college-level courses.

(Holy sh*t, I just realized that’s 14 finals weeks. 😳 I really need to graduate already.)

Here are some tried and true tips I rely on to survive finals.

1. Stick to your regular schedule

Just because you’re studying doesn’t mean your routine has to drastically change. After your last day of classes, study for each final during the time slot you’d normally be going to that class. It’s an easy way to cover a lot of material and incorporate natural breaks into your studying.

For online courses, this can pose a different type of challenge. If your course is asynchronous, and doesn’t have an established course schedule each week, try making your own schedule.

I’ve been taking asynchronous online courses since 2017. Planning out my schedule for finals week — and sticking to it — takes the mystery out of my time management strategy.

I know at a glance how much time I have left before I have to start doing x project — or, more realistically, how much of x project I have left to finish before I start studying for my next final, since projects and studying rarely go according to plan.

2. For the love of God, sleep.

Go to BED, BRENDA.

3. Get moving

Not to brag or anything, but I know *a lot* about stress. It’s like, no big deal. Moving around — even a lil bit — is an awesome way to signal to your brain that it’s time to calm down.

If you’re overwhelmed, and can do so safely, have a solo dance party. Right there. Wherever you are. Let your roommates think you’re weird. Let your freak flag fly, baby.

Okay, if you’re not down for solo dancing, if you can, get up and do a lap around your neighborhood, your block, or your hallway, and then get back to business. You got this.

4. Go 👏 to 👏 therapy

I mean, this is my advice anytime, day or night, finals week or no.

If you’re in a good place, a bad place, a weird place, or just an okay place, it always helps to go to therapy (if you can).

Don’t have a therapist? Never been? That’s cool too — a lot of the time, colleges and universities offer students free counseling on campus.

5. Do not eat a big meal before an exam.

I REPEAT. DO NOT DO A HOT DOG EATING CONTEST BEFORE AN EXAM. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EAT THAT ENTIRE STACK OF BELGIAN WAFFLES AND BACON AND EGGS. It will only make you sleepy. And sleepy people don’t test well. (See #2.)

DO EAT. Have an amazing breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Eat everything you want! Just try to avoid eating a big meal right before your exam.

(Also, have a little chocolate too. You’ve earned it.)

My cat is demanding my attention now, so I should go. Let me know if there’s anything you do to survive finals week that I missed!

By Ayla Yersel

Humanities nerd learning to code.