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Hannah Brown

Finals Week Survival Guide

by Hannah Brown | Dec 13, 2016

Across the country, students are procrastinating and worrying about the worst week in the school year, finals week. The last week in the semester brings out the worst in many of us due to the insane amount of stress we all suddenly feel is weighing us down. Not only are our grades in possible jeopardy, our bodies are too, physically and mentally. There are tons of ways we can make sure we make it out of finals week alive, so I’ve compiled a list. Here are six things you can do to make yourself less crazy during finals.

1. Stay active! Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, and sitting in one place for an extended period of time can lead to a tired, ill-supplied mind. Even if you can’t fit a full workout into the week, you do have time to go for a short walk or to do a few sets of crunches or push-ups. There are tons of simple and short workouts on the internet if you need some inspiration.

2. Silence your phone and social media! Although it may not seem attainable or realistic for us to turn our phones off or stay off of Twitter for more than an hour, phone use is a good reward for studying. After studying for an hour, allow yourself to check your phone for 5 minutes, and keep that up for as long as you’re studying. However, be aware of “just for a moment” syndrome. As most people know all too well, checking your Instagram feed can lead to an entire afternoon of watching hilarious cat videos and taking Buzzfeed quizzes.

3. Find your space! If you study well in the library, go for it! Find a big table where you can spread out and get stuff done. If the library isn’t for you, that’s fine too. Try dedicating a space to studying and stick with it throughout finals week. Avoid your bed, the couch, or other places that are associated with relaxation and are destructive to your studying attempts.

4. Eat well! Eating healthy food is always a great idea, but during finals week, you may be tempted to eat and drink whatever is most convenient. However, the quick calories of processed carbohydrates will ultimately leave you exhausted. Junk food gives you instant energy or a sugar high, but it affects your concentration and memory and you will end up in a food coma or sugar crash. Eating nutritious foods will energize you and increase your concentration and retention. Simply maintaining a healthy diet is an easy way to help manage stress and get good grades during your finals. Trust me, your body will thank you!

5. Take a breath and take a break! Studying non-stop is not helpful. After a long period of studying, your concentration will be broken, and the material that you are trying to learn will not be retained. Studies show in order to really grasp information the brain needs time to absorb what it has learned. It’s best to take a 5-10 minute break every hour or so to breathe, refresh, and stretch. You can also use a longer break to exercise, eat a healthy meal, rest, go outside, or socialize. You will absorb information best if you can study before going to sleep. But, the most important thing is that you do something for yourself and reward yourself for getting some work done, no matter when you find time to do it.

6. Catch some ZZZ’s! All the caffeine in the world can’t replace a good night’s sleep, and pulling an all-nighter is one of the worst things that you can do during finals week. Sometimes an all-nighter is inevitable though, so if you do need to pull one, then make time for naps. Fatigued brains do not retain information, nor do they recall it well. No matter what your study plan is, having a healthy sleep schedule is the key to any study plan’s effectiveness.

Finals week can really take a toll on you, with the heavy amounts of stress, the cold temperature, the various sicknesses circulating the school, and the anxiety and excitement of going home for winter break. It’s important to take care of yourself, so that you can focus on finals. Hopefully these tips make finals week a little less insane for you. Good luck on your finals, Spartans! 

HannahBrown
Hannah Brown '18 is from Yellow Springs, Ohio. She is majoring in Peace Studies with a focus on Social Justice. She also works as a Student Ambassador at Manchester.