The stress of dead week and finals week can be overwhelming, but a few tips and tricks can make it easier to endure.
With the dark cloud that is finals hanging over our heads, stress levels are at a steady increase. Though the grind and “sleep-later” mentality seems pleasing at first, in the long run, it doesn’t prove to be beneficial.
Sleep is one of the most important tips I can provide for you. People run on sleep; we need it. When forfeiting a basic necessity, you forfeit your ability to think and function normally.
A writer at Library Voices explains “Get enough sleep. For college students, getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep seems so unreal. When you don’t sleep, your performance exponentially declines so manage your time and sleep at a decent hour.”
We know that food and water are also important, and that goes for finals week too. I’m all for snacks, but it comes down to what snack you choose. Library Voices continues on to say, “When you eat junk food, it makes you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Instead, try healthy alternatives like yogurt for ice cream or popcorn for chips.”
Instead of filling up on chips, try trail mix or, going back to what the article said, homemade popcorn. Although snacks are fantastic, so is making sure to eat meals throughout the day that are healthy.
Another important reminder is to keep yourself hydrated. It’s easy to get distracted and forget to drink water, but keeping it within eyesight and arm’s reach will make it easier to remember.
Not only are sleep, food, and hydration important when it comes to finals, but the actual studying part is also important, which often feels like a never-ending stressor. Studying habits change according to each person. While one person can study one way it may not work the same for someone else.
To find your ideal study spot, test different environments with different noise levels and amounts of people until you find the one that suits you best. Once you find that specific spot, stick with it and continue to go back there. A benefit of testing out a few different locations to study is having a certain place linked with the materials you are reviewing.
According to C2 Education, “Your brain constantly processes sensory information, even when you don’t realize it. When you’re studying, all of this information—the sights, sounds, and feelings you experience—gets connected with the information that you’re purposely feeding into your brain. The more connections you can make to the information you’re trying to remember, the more likely you are to retain the knowledge.”
Seeing the same location with the same background noise and lights can help you retain what you are working on.
Another form of studying you can try is group study sessions. Working with your friends and peers to see which questions or subject matters you understand and which need to be reviewed can be helpful, especially if you are an external processor. I also highly recommend, if your professor has them, going to review sessions. These can be helpful because you get to ask questions, get help from the professor and hear other questions from your peers.
Florida National University (FNU) talks about the benefits of working in groups. They say “Effective study groups can help students learn course material in a deeper, more concrete way. Groups that are effective generate positive energy, encourage active participation, instill discipline, and require commitments from members. These skills are certainly important for learning.”
Another important part of finals and studying is understanding when you need to take a break. If you overwork, you will wear yourself thin. Stepping back and walking away will give your mind time to process and your body time for fresh air.
Small breaks like walks or stretching are good, but taking breaks with friends to get frozen yogurt or dinner is another productive way to rest and have fun. Other than getting dinner with friends, there are also two on-campus events that are coming up that you can attend with friends. The first event is Christmas Chaos on Trinity Lawn at 6 pm this Friday. There will be food and other Christmas events, including snow!
Another great event is Midnight Breakfast, taking place on Dec. 11 in UTCC. At this event, there will be a study session from 8-10 p.m. with breakfast and performances taking place from 10:30-11:30 p.m.
As said above, every person handles studying and the stress of finals differently. For me to stay calm during the midst of the stress, I take value in stepping back and taking a moment to walk away. I enjoy being outside with fresh air, and when I stop trying to fill my head with information, I just let it absorb.
When I get very focused on my to-do list and assignments, I tend to shut myself in a room and keep my head down. By going outside, however, I can be out in nature. Nature in general makes me feel calmer and helps me realize there is more to look at than a computer screen.
My friend Rebecca Ward, a junior art major, also had some advice in regard to studying. “I look over past assignments and see what was correct or incorrect. After looking at those assignments, if there is a study guide provided with specific questions, I try to answer them the best I can, and for any question, I can’t answer, I do my best to answer it with research. From there I am usually fine with my finals,” she said.
Once you find your ideal study spot, implement healthy habits and make time for studying, you will be set for the exams. I wish you all the best of luck!