Finals are coming up and I find myself asking people what number they’re on in relation to emotional breakdowns. I’m on seven so far. Yes, finals week can be stressful and I can already see the flames surrounding us and life falling apart as we say, “I’m fine,” with a smile. Don’t fret! I’m going to give you some tips to help you get through these last weeks of the semester.
Get enough sleep. Don’t pull an “all-nighter” and cram for a test. Your brain will be fried and confused from lack of sleep and overloading your brain. According to BBC, people often confuse “remembered” material with “familiar” material.
Tom Stafford, writer for BBC says “The cramming has a lingering glow of activity in our sensory and memory systems, a glow that allows our brain to swiftly tag our study notes as ‘something I’ve seen before’”. However, being able to “recognize” something is not the same as being able to “recall” it, says Stafford. Also, sleep deprivation is used as a torture mechanism for a reason. Rest up!
Take a break. Sometimes it’s good to take a break in between. Study for an hour. Take a 30 min break and come back. Repeat the process. I like to go on small jogs in those 30 minutes to revive myself. When you are sitting in the same spot looking at the same material for a long amount of time, it becomes exhausting. It’s important to look away from it for a bit. Psych Central says “brief diversions from a task dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.” It’s ok to take a break. Jog. Get a snack. Go pee.
Stay off of the internet. Unless you are doing work that requires you to be on the internet, stay far away from it. It’s too distracting. I know this because I have two papers due and you know what I decided to do? Get into a new Netflix series. I know, I’m terrible. An app that helps me with this is called “SelfControl.” This is an app compatible with Mac computers that blocks distracting websites for a set time.
Prioritize. Some exams will be harder than others. Make sure that you are taking that into consideration when determining what is at the top of the to-do list. If there is information you don’t understand, maybe start with that first. If you have papers to write and feel that they may take more time, prioritize that time and make estimates of when you might be done and go from there.
Health comes first. This sounds cheesy but we need this reminder. I, too, forget that finals are not the end of the world. School is important but health comes first. I’ve seen students that haven’t slept in nearly two days. I’ve heard people tell me they haven’t been able to eat because of the stress of finals. Myself included. Take a breath. Take a break. Don’t rush. Don’t overwork yourself to exhaustion. Finals will come and then they’ll be gone. Woosah!