Finals week: two words, ten letters, one week of pure stress and anxiety.
Let’s be real here. As much as I would have loved to make this a perfectly planned-out preparation strategy to guarantee for a smooth finals week, I would be doing a disservice to all of you who know that is nearly impossible.
If college has taught me one thing, it is to be realistic about how we approach our life decisions. As a student, we have to accept the fact that there is a way we are going to pretend to go about certain things in our head, and a way we actually approach them in real life.
So as finals week approaches, let’s not pretend we are going to get our life together and start preparing weeks in advance for success. Let’s talk about the realistic advice that will be truly beneficial from one college student to another.
A Georgia College mass communications professor, Jack Karlis, has talked through many students’ finals week breakdowns. “I always tell my students that it’s just one week,” he said. “You can and will get through it.”
As obvious as that sounds, it’s the truth that most students neglect to believe. One week is nothing compared to the past four months of your semester, so here are five pieces of advice to get you through these 96 hours in the most painless way possible.
1: Make a playlist to get you through the week
Whoever said silence is needed to focus, never listened to this playlist. As you begin your week, take a second to throw yourself a one-man pity party. You were bound to throw it later in the week anyway.
Let yourself feel bad about the copious amount of work awaiting you. Get it out of the way while you can.
2: Stock up on the healthiest late-night gas station snacks that require no preparation
When it’s 1 a.m. and your stomach starts growling at you, but you don’t have time to whip out a gourmet salmon dinner, here are five late night snacks that you can grab at your local Golden Pantry to do the trick.
Check out the infographic to the right.
3: Find places to study that aren’t the library
Although the library is the designated place to lock yourself away during a week like this, it is also a full-on hunger games battle to get a study room during finals week.
Here are four places your fellow peers study on campus that don’t require a key:
Emma Adams, an exercise science major, recommended the third floor of the Health Sciences building. Science major or not, this floor offers a calm and secluded environment to study for hours on end.
Kevin Lee, a management major, said he takes advantage of the empty Atkinson classrooms late at night when no one is around. Who needs a study room when you have access to a whole classroom of space?
Cassidy Philo, a mass communication major, said she hides away on the couches located on the first floor of the Art and Sciences building.
Staying comfortable and productive is the best kind of combination.
4: Give your brain a break without getting on the treadmill
Your brain can only hold so much information at one time.
Give it a break and step away from the book for a couple minutes. With that being said, this doesn’t mean you have to put on your tennis shoes and run three miles.
The mental strain of studying or writing a paper should be exhausting enough.
Take this time to do something truly enjoyable. Here are eight different ways to take a break without doing too much physical activity:
Take a nap. Play a card game with your friends. Watch an episode of your favorite feel good show. (If Michael Scott can’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will.) Take a bubble bath. Meditate. Color in the most satisfying coloring book you can find. Go for a casual walk on the greenway. Read your horoscope.
5: Procrastinate in the smartest way
One of the most important lessons college teaches students is the amount of dedication it takes to procrastinate. The amount of time and strategic planning that is required for someone to carefully plan out their last-minute activities is truly impressive.
Use this skill to your advantage and plan your week accordingly. If you know that you have a test at 10 a.m. on Monday, 2 p.m. on Tuesday and 9 a.m. on Wednesday, use those hours in between each test to your advantage and study. Procrastination isn’t necessarily the smartest approach to conquering a week full of grade-determining tests, but if you procrastinate in the right way, you can surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.
Listen to the wise words of recent college graduate, Emily Edmond: “College is one of the greatest memories of your life, and it’s extremely important to stay focused and keep your future in sight. But remember that the work never ends; college does.”
Keep in mind that these short four years are the last years you have to live this college lifestyle, so embrace every minute of it—even your finals week.