How to survive finals week

We finally made it through a long semester back for in-person classes!

This has been an odd semester for everyone; teachers, students, freshmen, transfer students, and returning students. Everyone has had a taste of freedom from Thanksgiving break, and now it feels impossible to get back to working the hustle of the following week of school before finals week.

But don't give up; you're almost there, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally showing bright. We have to pass the treacherous finals week and the week leading up to it!

With everything happening in the world, life and work make it easy to place school work at the very bottom of your to-do list. To add to that, finals and semester endpapers are the most challenging aspect of your college experience; there is so much information to cram, organize, and remember as you head into finals week.

But luckily for you, I will list some helpful ways to keep from stressing out and achieve a better grade point average as you finish up this semester.

Get Involved with a Study Group/Class Review sessions /Teaching others.

If you are like other commuter students and me, our schedules often don't line up with our professors' office hours, and we don't have time or money to hire tutors to help us with our course content. And as finals week creeps close, we can start feeling left behind in understanding the work.

One of the best things you can do is ditch those final days of class. I know it might feel tempting, too, because everything is just a review on the subject, but this is your time to ask questions and tie any loose ends with the course. Be present and take as many notes as you need.

You can also check if any study sessions are happening with your fellow students after class; if not, you can organize your study sessions. This will help you feel like you're not alone when taking on the final study guide. Working together will be beneficial for everyone participating because explaining the concept in your own words to others helps you master the information.

Create an epic study playlist

Playing music as you study will help you retain more information because it will heighten your mood and reduce anxiety, as stated by the experts at Duke Cancer Institute. Since I was younger, I have always heard that classical music is the best genre to listen to while studying. While they are not wrong, I can get over classical music fast. That's why I created my custom playlist filled with instrumental music that I enjoy.

For example, a playlist that I put together for my studying needs is a compilation of Disney instrumentals to make me feel happy. I also found a playlist where they combined classic 1940's music that sounded like they would be a part of a classic Disney Princess movie. I also listen to lo-fi beats of pop music if I'm in a non-Disney mood.

The playlist ideas are endless; shape it to what you enjoy!

Study-Oriented Space

I'm also the type of person who cannot function in a messy space; once I get started on my school work, and if anything in my room is out of place, it will distract me. Set up your very own study space with things that will bring relaxation and keep all your material in one place. I also like to make my space extra special by having a yummy cup of coffee there to motivate me.

If you find studying in your house distracting or unmotivating, move locations. Go to a Starbucks or the library to make you feel more motivated to get things done. It will also be less tempting to fall asleep in these public places.

Find your perfect study place!

Switch it up

Don't stay stuck on just one subject while studying because it will eventually cause frustration or boredom. Before your mind starts to wander, pick up another topic that you have to study for. Warning: don't do this every ten minutes because you won't be looking effectively, and you will mix up all of your subjects and tasks at hand.

Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour of just studying one subject before moving on.

Visualizing the info to better understand

Visualizing the information as you study is also a great tool to help keep you focused and prevent your brain from drifting off as you read. Highlighting important keywords can help you stay on track with what you are studying. And if you aren't a big fan of taking traditional notes, create graphs, charts, and flashcards to help you learn the information.

Having fun with the words can also be a helpful tool to memorize specific topics or vocabulary. Breaking up the information into small pieces and creating acronyms, phrases, rhymes, or metaphors can be a valuable tool!

Sleep/breaks/being healthy

Take care of your body and mind!!!

Sleep is super important to keep your brain sharp and ready to absorb the information at hand. And sleeping instead of cramming the night before an exam is the smartest thing you can do for yourself. Studies show that having a well-rested mind plays an active role in consolidating memories and making it easier to retrieve information.

I also understand that this is a busy time, and eating junk food is the easiest and fastest way to get food in your body, but it isn't going to help you when you study. Stock up on "brain food" the week before you begin studying to help your brain prepare for the amount of work it will undergo.Fresh fruits and vegetables, balanced with protein and healthy fats to fuel your mind


Yes, I know easier said than done, but procrastinating will bring you high anxiety levels before your final. If you have all of this unwanted anxiety, your brain will poop on you and forget everything you have worked for.

The process of studying for exams should technically begin at the beginning of the semester, we all have our best intentions at the beginning, but of course, life happens. As the final date draws near, start preparing yourself slowly to understand the subject. Another helpful key before an assignment is to break up the workload to be easier to handle.

Please don't wait until the last day to do your work.

Reward yourself

And my favorite part, don't forget to reward yourself! Long study sessions can feel pointless and boring but set a goal for that session and have something waiting for you at the end. (I like to reward myself with Starbucks) But during your study jams, take small breaks in between complex topics, eat a healthy snack, go on a walk outside, or even watch your favorite episode from a show you like.

Please don't torture yourself, or you will trick your brain that you are being punished, and it will loath studying.

Good luck with your finals!

And breath…

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