Words by Skyla Patton
Across campus students are buckling their seatbelts, sharpening their pencils and preparing for the most dreaded week of the term: finals. Posters shouting encouraging words are plastered on the walls, student volunteers are shoving stress balls and snacks into your hands and you can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Whether you’re someone who’s been preparing for weeks or someone who has yet to buy their books, these five tips will help guide you through your tests and send you off on a sleigh ride into the holiday break.
- Take Care of Yourself
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that your mental and physical health need to be prioritized in such a stressful time. Eating healthy meals regularly, getting sufficient amounts of sleep and keeping up on personal hygiene are all keys to ensuring your brain can function at it’s best. We’re not saying you have to go to the spa every day, but keeping your health up will help your test scores stay up too.
- Use Mental Keywords
It may sound silly at first, but when it comes to key terms or specific things like names and dates, creating “mental shortcuts” can save you when you’re staring at a scantron and your memory is failing you. Rhymes, brief songs or even just creating similarities and connections between the things you need to remember and things you already know will help jog your memory. For example, if you need to remember a date, come up with something else that happened in that same year: you need to remember the space shuttle Columbia crashed in 2003, your little brother was born that year, and so on.
- Utilize University Opportunities
The University may be the exact place you’re scared to go to, but there are tons of opportunities and spaces for you to destress or better prepare yourself for your finals on campus. Pay attention to the billboards for study sessions, stop by the Duck Nest for some hot tea or a break from studying. They also offer Peer Wellness Advocates who can help mellow you out or coach you through a particularly hard day, and also can often point you in the right direction for additional help.
- Create a Study Schedule
Whether you’re an obsessive planner-lover or someone who forgets to eat breakfast every day, using a strict study schedule during finals week in your free time will help avoid procrastination and a mental overload. Keep in mind your full spectrum of responsibilities in making it. Do you have work that day? How much time will you realistically have to divvy up? Be sure to follow it closely, but provide yourself with plenty of breaks and outlets to de-stress in between as well.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break
Studying is crucial and everyone wants to be appropriately prepared for their finals, but it won’t be any use to you if you’re stretched too thin and your mental health takes a vacation. Taking breaks, enjoying leisurely activities and having a social life during finals week is nothing to be ashamed of and can actually help when it comes to sticking your nose in the book. Reward yourself for a good hour of studying, eat some snacks while you read and give yourself half an hour of Netflix after finishing a chapter — you’ll be okay!