We all know the struggle that life becomes during finals week. The hectic, crazy, chaotic mess of way too much to do, with far too little sleep on top of a malnourished diet proves to be a feat to tackle each and every semester. As a 26 year-old undergrad who has been taking classes since fall of 06, I’ve come up with some strategies that I use to help me make it through.
1. Get organized. It is absolutely essential for me to create several lists of work to be completed and determine based on due dates and personal interest the order of which I will start crossing things out. I have to see the big picture and devise a solid plan in order to not feel to overwhelmed to do anything.
2. Breaks. Study breaks are necessary. Regardless of how you spend your breaks, they are important to take. Sometimes the best ideas come to us when we remove ourselves from the situation and are doing some other mindless thing. It is also important to plan study breaks from which you can easily return to work from.
3. Eat. Your brain cannot function without carbohydrates. It is hard to maintain a well-balanced diet through the stress of a crazy finals week, especially when you’re broke! But making sure you’re getting nutrients to your brain is a must!
4. Exercise. I am a runner. I have to move my body and expel some energy in order to be able to sit and focus on work later. If you regularly exercise, it is important to keep to your routine, even if you’re feeling you don’t have the time, just do a short run or gym session. Our bodies need what they’re used to.
5. Incentives! Ahh, my favorite. You must reward yourself, and give yourself incentives for various tasks in order to make it through the big picture work. Mine looks something like, if I finish the body of this paper I get a glass of wine*. If I finish the paper, I get a glass of wine and an entire bag of Totino’s Pizza Rolls. So don’t forget to give yourself treats, you’re earning them!
6. Fluid intake. You must drink water! There is so much to do and on little sleep. Keeping up on water intake is vital for staying healthy throughout finals week. Not to mention, if you drink as much caffeine as I do, water is important to balance the anti-diuretic-ness.
7. Jams. The right music is a must for me making it through finals week. I like to have a private dance party around my apartment with my ear buds in, blaring so loud I’m sure that when I’m 65 I will no longer be able to hear certain frequencies. I need certain pump-me-up jams at times to make it through. It has also been proven that listening to jazz or classical music while studying is more effective than studying with any other type or music or without music at all.
Good luck to you all this finals week! I hope some of these strategies will help you survive!