Finals week in college is one of the most demanding during the semester.
Believe me, I'm going through the 10 Stages of Finals Week Acceptance right now.
And it's my fifth finals week.
From the papers, group projects and presentations, to comprehensive exams, finals week is a breeding ground for stress and anxiety. Many college students let the stress of finals consume their lives and actually hinder their performance on tests and term papers.
But this doesn't have to be the case. You can make it through finals week without wanting to drop out.
Here are a few tips for minimizing your stress levels during finals week:
Plan out your studying schedule
There is no avoiding finals week so you might as well tackle it head-on. Most stress surrounding the last two weeks of the semester generates from talking about how much you have to do and not doing anything about it.
A way to combat this is being very organized and writing down in your planner or Google Calendar each deadline and allotting yourself specific times to study. Having everything planned out will help you accomplish all the papers, projects and studying and will motivate you to get started.
Take a break from your social networks
I find social media to be one of the biggest distractions during finals week. I will waste precious time Snapchatting me studying instead of me actually hitting the books.
When you realize how much time you are wasting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you add to your already high-stress levels. What I advise is to put your phone on "do not disturb," sign out of all your social accounts (so you are not getting audible alerts), and allow yourself to check it only once you complete a big chunk of your work.
More likely than not, your friends are going through the same stressful time as you, so stop distracting them with your Snaps and focus on crossing things off your calendar.
Eat right and exercise
Stress eating or not eating at all is a big issue when it comes to finals week. Instead of living off of coffee and sweets, try to dedicate time for meals filled with protein and veggies to keep your brain sharp. This may sound silly, but taking a half hour break to fuel your body gives you some downtime to decompress and energize for more studying.
In addition to eating right, get some exercise, whether it be going for a short walk around campus or heading to the gym to pump some iron. It helps clear the mind and focus more once you hit the books again.
Make sure you have 'me' time
As important it is to get all your work done, it is just as important to take a break. That doesn't mean binge a whole season on Netflix, but reward yourself with an episode every so often, meet up with friends for dinner, or even check your social networks. Giving yourself a little time to step away from your work and talk about the work you are accomplishing allows you to clear your head, recharge and feel confident.
Pulling all-nighters seems to be a part of the college struggle, however doing it during finals week can hurt you more than it can help. The body needs sleep to be re-energized and to stay focused during tasks. Studies show that losing sleep or staying up all night can result in students doing worse on cognitive and memory tasks, such as exams. If it comes down to it and you feel like you have to pull an all-nighter, do it only once during finals week and try to stick to your study plan that I mentioned above.
Avoid cramming if you can
Above all, do not leave studying to the last minute. Even if you blew off the reading for the entire semester, try and space out your studying throughout the week. You will retain more information and perform better on your exam. Some students live by cramming the night before and even day of, but my tip to you is if you don't know it now, you will not know it ten minutes before the exam. If you made and stuck to your finals week studying plan, you should be confident in your work and it will show in your exam results.
While these tips are based on my experience with preparing and taking finals, they are a good guideline to tackle the final week stress that you are already experiencing or is in the near future.
Once you are done finals week don't forget to relax, re-energize and reward yourself because ... you made it! Take your results and how you did this semester and evaluate it and see what you can do better next time. The first finals week is the worst but you will get through it!
Best of luck to all approaching this awful week that is upon all college students!
Do you have tips on how to stay sane during finals week? Please leave a comment and post on our Facebook page, thanks!