Finals week is upon us! December finals have always had a weird vibe to me. On the one hand, you’re frazzled from endless studying and caffeine highs but on the other, you’re abuzz with holiday cheer. I’ve found this particular mix of stress and excitement to be exclusive to finals week and it is certainly not conducive to my feelings of sanity.
Because of this, I think focusing on staying sane and minimizing stress is one of the most important things you can do during finals week — possibly even more important than studying! So, I’m kicking off this blog with 5 tips for how to stay sane during finals week.
1. Find a study style that works for you
Obviously, finals week naturally revolves around studying for your exams and completing papers and projects. However, not all forms of studying work for all students or for all subjects.
I think it’s incredibly important to find your personal studying “groove” and be able to adjust it to fit your particular classes. Nailing down a reliable study style that you know you can always fall back on is a surefire way to reduce the stress of actually studying for finals.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what type of studying will be the best for you, I suggest checking out Tumblr, Pinterest, and one of my favorite blogs: Organized Charm for tips, ideas, and examples of the study methods that work for other people.
2. Schedule or plan your time
This tip may seem pretty obvious, but I find myself forgetting to schedule my day surprisingly often. It’s easy to get overwhelmed during finals week and planning out your day is a great way to avoid that particular form of procrastination that happens when you have too many things to do so you decide not to do any of them.
Some people make spreadsheets to schedule specific blocks of time in their day. Some people use their iPhone calendar and reminders apps to keep track of meetings and tasks. I use a combination of my planner, a notebook filled with to-do lists, and the iPhone/web app Swipes, but you can use whatever style works for you.
3. Don’t forget the necessities
With all that scheduling, be sure you don’t pack your day so full that you don’t have time for anything other than studying. Two of the most important things for your body are two of the most forgotten during finals week: sleeping and eating!
My school proudly embraces its nerdy, sleep-deprived reputation and you’ll often see students in the library until all hours of the night, encouraging one another to power through their latest all-nighter. While it’s certainly important to be committed to your academics — and the occasional all-nighter might be necessary to finish up that research paper you kept putting off — the fact that the library is open 24 hours doesn’t mean you need to be there for each and every one of them. Sleep deprivation has major negative effects on the body and on your academic performance.
The same can be said for eating. I’ll definitely admit, once you’ve hit your groove studying, the prospect of giving up your prime seat in the library to go eat dining hall food is not the most pleasant. However, your body needs food and it’s important to remember to eat so that you stay energized and healthy for all that studying.
4. Be grateful
Gratitude has a profound impact on our daily lives and I’ve personally found that it helps to reduce my stress and anxiety by giving me something positive to focus on. I keep a gratitude journal and when the academic stress is piling up, it’s nice to flip through it and look at all the big and little things I’ve been grateful for in the past weeks and months.
Along with this comes enjoying life’s little joys. The other day, I was in the campus bookstore and there were two pugs inside the store. They were so cute and I wasn’t expecting to see them so I couldn’t help but smile. (I apologize for the horrible quality of the photo but, as you probably know, pugs are very wiggly.) I think it’s important to realize how often you smile for little reasons and to recognize those moments when they crop up. Even when you’re at your most stressed, you can still come across random pugs who will lick your face.
5. Treat yo’ self
My last piece of advice comes from Donna on Parks & Recreation: “Treat yo’ self.” Finals week means you don’t have class all the time. It’s kind of ridiculous to expect yourself to study during all of that newly spare time, so make sure to indulge every once in a while.
Whether it’s grabbing coffee and dessert with your roommate, going clothes shopping, or just taking time out of your day to take a walk, be sure to reward yourself for your hard work by doing something that makes you happy.
I hope at least one of these tips was helpful and I’m looking forward to blogging here. I hope you’ll come back to read more posts. Happy finals!