Thanksgiving break has come and gone. I got just over a week at home to relax, catch up on sleep, chill with my family, friends, and cat, and get acquainted with my spiffy, shiny, beautiful new Washburn acoustic guitar (happy birthday to me). But now I am back at school, preparing to dive into the deep, dark sea of finals. I have two traditional exams and two “mini” analysis papers concerning Virginia Woolf short stories. It’s not as bad as I originally anticipated; two papers is certainly better than five! But they’re still finals, and finals suck. Alas, we must put on our game faces and tackle this last week of the semester like Clay Matthews tackles any defender with the audacity to come his way…except I don’t think I’m quite as frightening or intimidating as Clay Matthews. But I digress…
For some people, “finals week” is synonymous with “ultimate stress week” and/or “all hell breaks loose week.” I would be lying if I said I’m not one of those people. I hate finals week, especially during fall semester. As if studying and writing papers until your brain turns to mush isn’t bad enough; it is cold, windy, gray, dreary, and usually wet with rain and/or snow. Everything is just straight-up depressing.
Anyway…before we all dive into our various end-of-the-semester activities, I would like to share a list of advice and tips to keep in mind while studying, packing, etc etc. Take it as you please, and I hope some, if not all of them, are useful!
– Don’t procrastinate. If you do, you’re just that much more stressed.
– Take study breaks. Grab a snack, go for a walk/run, visit a friend down the hall…do something completely non-academic for a bit. If you don’t give yourself a chance to breathe, stress level rises. Trust me.
– Junk food = no good. It may give you energy in the form of a sugar rush, but what do you accomplish on a sugar rush?
– Brain food = good. Peanuts/peanut butter, fruit, protein, etc. I highly recommend trail mix.
– Stop studying about an hour before your exam. That way, you won’t be trying to cram last-minute, and you will most likely be a little more relaxed going into the exam.
– SLEEP. GET A GOOD AMOUNT OF SLEEP.
– Remove distractions. For me, this means unplugging my ethernet cable and hiding it behind my desk.
– Limit the time you allow yourself on your favourite time-wasting websites to an hour a day (or less, depending on your work ethic, attention span, etc), unless it’s necessary that you be on them for more than that (i.e., talking to my mom on Facebook).
– If you can’t study in the absolute quiet, I recommend classical music in the background. It is proven to help you concentrate and improve retention.
– Stay on top of your assignments and exams. I keep a list of what I need to get done taped to my desk, and cross things off when they’re done.
– When you start to get a headache…take a break. And some Advil.
– Packing is a great way to take a break. You’re productive without studying. Bam.
– Space is precious.
– When packing, it is often easier to roll your clothes into little cylindrical shapes and stack them in your suitcase that way.
– Stuff socks, smaller shoes, etc into boots.
I think that covers everything. Good luck on exams, everyone! And enjoy your time at home this holiday season!