Thursday, December 12, 2013

Keep Calm and Ace Your Finals: Tips for Surviving the Week We All Dread




Written By Lauren Lind

It’s almost that time of year when the stress levels shoot through the roof and emotional breakdowns are in full swing. This week and next week, the library will be packed at all hours of the day, while you struggle to find an open power outlet to charge computer and caffeine will have become one of your BFFs. Some of us deal with the stress by eating copious amounts of junk food and some of us handle it by exercising excessively in order to remain with at least an ounce of sanity. 

Whatever you do to deal with your stress, realize that you are not alone and that everything is going to be okay. School is important, but so is your wellbeing; so as you tough it out, also realize that your self worth is not solely dependent on a grade. That’s not to say you shouldn’t give it your all, but why have an emotional breakdown when it’s not necessary? Here are some tips for surviving finals week that I have found to be helpful in the past: 

  1. Breathe. As simple as this sounds, many times when people are stressed they forget to take deep breaths. Inhale three deep breaths and exhale for a count of 5. Yoga can also be a good release by getting you to breath and your mind and body to center. 

  1. Plan for success. Write down out your plan and approximate time needed to study for each subject before finals week starts. Also find out which if your finals are cumulative and plan accordingly. This will help set you off in the right direction by not leaving things until the last minute. 

  1. Take Breaks. Allowing yourself to take breaks will actually help you to study more actively. Giving yourself something to look forward to while you study can increase your productivity. You could watch a TV show, or go for a walk, or meet up with a friend for dinner.

  1. Sleep. I know all too well about pulling all-nighters; however sleep will help you do better on your tests. If you do have to stay up late, try and get at least three hours of sleep in order to retain the information that you have just crammed into your brain. Or go to bed and get up early to review the information. Either way, get some rest. 

  1. Take care of yourself. Drink a ton of water and make sure you are consuming good brain foods. Avoid eating a ton of foods that are high in sugar and fat because they will make you crash. This is easier said than done, so allow yourself a treat after you accomplish a certain amount of studying. 

  1. Change up your study environment. Studies have shown that people retain more information when they switch up where they study as opposed to spending all their time in one place, so avoid locking yourself in your room or living in the library. 

7. Get in at least 30-45 minutes of exercise a day. I have often been tempted to skip my workout during finals because I feel that I don’t have anytime to squeeze in a workout. Instead I’ll find myself distracted on Twitter wasting time away that could have been used to help me de-stress. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and has been shown to improve students’ academic performance. 

Keep calm and do the best that you can on your finals because ultimately that’s all you can do. Hopefully these tips will help you stay breakdown free and congratulations to the December 2013 Graduates!!! 

Hat tip: Stefanie Weisman with colllegecountdown.com and dosomething.org