It creeps up on you quicker than the night does the day. It silently stalks you then pounces at the right moment, and you find yourself caught unaware and in its death grip. It’s…

It’s finals week.

College students all over the country are in survival mode, including myself, as we finish papers, conduct presentations and study for exams, along with all of the other responsibilities we have.

So, how do you survive? Here are some tips that might help:

1. TAKE BREAKS. Breaks are important for your mental wellbeing. Even a short break gives your brain a chance to rest and recuperate. Sometimes you need to approach an assignment with a refreshed way of thinking. You can also use breaks to reward the pleasure center of your brain so that studying won’t be tedious. After a good amount of studying, take a pause by reading a chapter of the book you’re on or watching an episode of a TV show. Take a nap, if that’s what your body calls for. That way, when you get back to studying, you have scheduled break periods that your brain’s pleasure center can look forward to.

2. DON’T PROCRASTINATE. Whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT wait until the very last minute and cram a semester’s worth of information. The best way to study for success is to start early. I started studying for my biology final about three weeks in advance. Familiarize yourself with the information in advance. Break it up into segments each day. If you need to, make a calendar specific to each class you need to study for. I made a calendar where I said ok, this day I’m going to redo the homework, quizlet and in-class work for this unit, then the next day the next unit, and a few days later I’ll do the same thing for past tests and other relevant information for the class. And that’s another thing.

3. MAKE A SCHEDULE. Now I know schedules aren’t everybody’s thing, but they really do help. They help you to avoid the p word (whispers: procrastination). You have a guide on what you’re going to complete for the day, and even if you don’t do everything on the list, you did more than you would have if you were sailing like a ship without a rudder. Days when I don’t have a list or schedule on tasks/assignments to complete, I’m more likely to waste time staring at the ceiling thinking about what I should do out of everything on my plate or engaging in the p word. When you have some sort of guide to follow, ythe burden becomes lighter to bear.

Lastly, just know that doing bad on a paper, an exam or a presentation is not the end of the world. Your GPA may drop, sure, and believe me, I know the agony of seeing such perfection degrade. But it’s more important that you take care of yourself during finals week and make sure you find ways to destress, because at the end of the day, your mental health is more important than your grade’s health. So walk into finals week with a positive attitude and leave it with a positive attitude.


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