Happy Finals Week—may the odds be ever in your favor.
It’s that time of the year again. It’s funny, it hasn’t gotten bitterly cold and the sun is still out and then finals week rolls around and it’s freezing and overcast. This is a very stressful time for most students on campus, but there can also be good times too; those late hours in the library where you and your friends end up laughing about any little thing. You don’t have class so you can use all the extra time to catch up on rest, relax, and study (then repeat). As this will by my fifth round with Finals Week I figured I’d reflect on my experience and what I have learned from my peers and share them!
1. Make a plan. Depending on how much time you need to start planning, take the time to first know when your finals are. Once you have that, fill in when you will study for what subject. There are times when you will have two finals on the same day so it is important to plan accordingly to make sure you are prepared for whatever you have ahead of you.
2. Change up your study location. I have found that if I go to the same place to study I get the same bad habits. There are libraries, coffee shops, and a host of empty classrooms during this time, so utilize your resources and switch up where you study for the day.
Try to study with friends; this always holds me accountable. If I’m with friends (studious ones) and they are all busy studying but I’m staring at the wall, I realize, “Okay, I need to get back to work.”
3. Have a reliable alarm. This is very important. Phones won’t always work. I suggest using a physical alarm clock that you can plug into the wall. Your roommate or neighbor can make a great alarm clock, too. If you know s/he is a morning person or has a final at the same time they can be a second in command to making sure you are awake and ready.
4. Prioritize. Also known as “using your time wisely,” do not spend time on the wrong things. If you have a major course that’s 5 credit hours and an easy general education course worth 2, which do you think deserves more attention? Going back to my first point: you should have a plan for both but make sure you aren’t spending time on material that you are confident you understand. And don’t worry, you will find material you’re confident about!
5. Sleep! Getting some rest is probably the most important part to all of this. Finals Week is a very common time for students to get sick because of the anxiety, adrenaline, stress, and other emotions you put your body through. Be sure to eat regular meals as well, and take some vitamins if needed.
Finally, reward yourself! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT just study for hours on end without stopping. This is unhealthy and many studies have shown that you will not retain the information. Break up your studying and do something to relax your mind in between. A personal fave of mine is starting a new series on Netflix. I will study for a couple hours then watch an episode, study, watch an episode, and before I know it I have studied all my material and finished a show.
All in all, Finals Week can be both “the best of times and worst of times.” But knowing how great it feels to have four weeks off, knowing that you put your best foot forward and really tried your hardest, is a very rewarding feeling that will always reflect in your grades.