I’d like to think that after 7+ years of college, that I am pretty experienced in the whole how-to-survive-college field. Does that mean that I haven’t gone through some days, weeks, or semesters kicking and screaming? Hell no. It just means that I am here, I survived, and you will too.
In honor of my last-ever finals week, I have pondered the thought of creating a list of ways to survive finals week. After some deliberation, I decided to myself, “why the hell not?!” So, without further ado, here it is. Kick some ass, y’all.
- Find your study spot. This is, by far, the most important item on this list. Whether it is in an eerily silent library, a Starbucks full of hustle and bustle, or alone on your couch in your basement, find what works for you. If you and your pals have differing preferences, maybe it’s best to study without them. I will admit, I did learn this the hard way! I promise, what works best for you will give you the best, and most promising, results.
- Take a break. Cramming for 36 hours straight with no sleep, gallons of caffeine, and little time to breathe will not give you the best results. Everyone needs to stop and take a breath every once in a while. So, do it. Take a step back from that book. Go for a walk. Take a drink of water. You got this.
- Sleep well. I have lived both lives: the life of an all-nighter and the life of a good night’s rest. And, let me tell you, the nights I got some sleep, not only did my grades improve dramatically, but my happiness skyrocketed as well. Sleeping gives your brain the downtime it deserves. Walking into an exam with an over-tired, dazed mind will do you no good. Do yourself a favor, lay your head on that pillow.
- Eat healthy. Sure, McDonalds is the most convient meal when it is 1am and you are starving in the library. Is it the best thing for you at that specific time? Absolutely not! Your body is fueled by nutritious, energizing foods that keep you going instead of weighing you down. Pack some fruits and veggies, and skip the fries.
- Workout. Go for a walk. Go for a run. Punch a punching bag while imagining it is your professor who unfairly gave you way too much information to study [just kidding]. But, really. Getting some exercise will not only make you feel great, but it will improve your efficiency when you go back to hitting the books.
- Visit your professor. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Cliché? Yes. But a question that is hanging over your head, no matter how big or how small, can be answered through conversation and insight on the final exam. Don’t have the means to visit during office hours? Shoot your professor an email. Plus, asking questions will show the effort you are putting in and how much you care about acing this test! Can you say brownie points?
- Realize that finals week is only a week, and it will end. There is always and forever light at the end of the tunnel. This week is, without a doubt, the hardest, longest, and most stressful week of any semester of any year of college that you will ever experience. However, the feeling you get once the week is over is unlike any other. Keep on keepin’ on. You got this!
I am currently 6 hours away from submitting my final, final paper and putting this spring semester to an end. [My paper is done, just not sent yet, hence finding time to write this]. The last 15 weeks have definitely pushed me to my limits, that’s for sure. Prior to this semester even starting, my advisor sent me some major SOS vibes, saying this would be the hardest semester of grad school I would have to endure. No shock to anyone, he was not wrong.
This last week alone between final exams, final papers, cumulative assignments, reflections on top of my friend dying and me being sick… I mean, if you ask me how I made it out in one piece, I don’t have the answer for you, because I do not know myself how I made it through. To those of you who have seen me in person *shudders*, yes I look like I have been dragged 87,000 feet by a semi truck and then run over a few times. To those of you who have not seen me in person, count your blessings.
To all the college kiddos out there, going for a Bachelor’s, Masters, Ph.D., whatever it may be, you know the struggle. You aren’t alone in this, and neither am I. With that being said, here are some finals week survival tips, from a girl who has gone through more finals weeks than she can count on her two hands.
- Coffee will be your best friend. My brother says to me every single day, “Next year when I go to college, there’s no way I’m drinking coffee.” Newsflash buddy, you’re wrong. It will happen. You will become a walking zombie just like the rest of us, coffee IV in tow.
- Sleep is necessary, even if it’s for 45 minutes. All-nighters: a college student’s best friend and worst enemy. I, myself, find I power through the hardest and get the most work done late at night, mostly running on adrenaline of course, but it’s true. No matter how long I want to keep going though, it’s essential that I sleep. Nobody likes dealing with a cranky person first thing in the morning.
- You will think all of your final exams or assignments are the stupidest assignments ever. Just today, I have said this probably 18 times. I don’t know whether it’s because I get so anxious to be done, or if it’s because the assignments and study guides are actually stupid, but it gets said. Newsflash: nobody wants to write a 10 page reflection on how you thought the last fifteen weeks in one class went.
- It is okay to leave the house looking like a wreck. Whether it is going to the library to study, running to Starbucks to grab a coffee, or going to the last few classes of the semester, nobody really gives a crap about what you look like. There is, for sure, 8,000 other things on people’s minds other than thinking ‘oh gosh did you see her without any makeup on/wearing sweatpants/with her clearly unbrushed hair today?’ You do you, girlfriend. We’re all in the same boat.
- Think of the light at the end of the tunnel. There is no better motivator than the thought of days and/or nights free of homework. The thought of coming home after work and being able to relax on the sofa and watch TV or read a book makes me so excited, I may as well be jumping up and down right now.
What are some ways you get through the dreaded finals week?
P.S. Good luck everyone! xoxo.