Finals season seems to loom over campus like a dark cloud, waiting anxiously for students to arrive back on campus after Thanksgiving break, preying on their turkey-stuffed delirium. It feels as if one minute, you are relaxing at home, and the next you are tucked away in the Butler stacks. As suffocating as the fear of finals may seem, students persevere through them each year, proving the anticipation of finals season to be much worse than the action of taking said finals.
I am not going to lie and say that finals are fun. I am currently writing this article on a plane back to New York... Well, Newark, New Jersey, and I did in fact shed a couple of tears on the ride to the airport, knowing the stress-culture atmosphere I was about to enter back on campus. Still, despite this inevitable fear of finals season, there are simple ways to protect your own peace, and those around you, and make the process more bearable. Below are the three biggest tricks in surviving finals week.
1. Avoid Studying Competitions and Stress Bragging
I get it, we go to a competitive school filled with competitive people. Students are constantly trying to get a leg up on their peers, or at least make it seem as if they are. However, surrounding yourself with this type of person, or being this person yourself, does no good for anyone. In fact, pulling an all nighter the day of a final is probably going to do more harm than good for your memory consolidation, so do not stay in Butler into the wee hours of the morning just because you heard others are. Likewise, do not shame fellow students for being relaxed leading up to finals week because stress is not a correlate of success. Listen to your own body and do what is best for your own studying.
2. Make a To-Do List Ahead of Time and Break Up Tasks
The easiest way to reduce finals stress is to plan out when each assignment or study period should be finished. Breaking up major assignments into manageable daily tasks takes away the uncertainty of whether or not there is enough time to complete the task. In addition, a calendar would ensure no assignment goes forgotten. A to-do list keeps you on task and limits the likelihood of procrastination. Often, the hardest part about a major assignment or cumulative exam is starting the working process. By breaking the work up into digestible pieces, there is a clear starting and ending point of work each day, making the assignment appear smaller and more approachable.
3. Make Time for Out-Of-School Activities
My productivity seriously declines if I am sitting alone in a dark room all day –– a happy brain is a productive brain. For this reason, it is important to give the mind a break. I have found exercise to be the best remedy to a homework overload induced headache, but sometimes some rest or chit-chat with friends is all that is needed. It is important to practice self-care, take breaks from the library, sleep, and nourish your body and brain in order to fully take advantage of the brain at its fullest capacity. There should not be any guilt in watching a movie or getting dinner with friends during finals week.
I am not going to write that finals do not matter. While I am sure years from now we will realize how little of an impact one grade will have on our lives, it is important to give it all you have and study to the best of your ability. The most important thing to keep in mind this finals season is to act in accordance to your own needs, not those of others. There will always be someone in the library later than you, but that does not mean it is in your best interest to stay. Finals week is different for everybody, so make a plan and follow it. Only with hard work comes success, stressing about a grade will not change that. With that being said, go easy on yourself this finals season, as we are only in control of our preparation, not our outcome.