Whether you’re in college for the first time or you’re working on an advanced degree, you know that college has a unique stress all its own. Juggling different loads of coursework and studying can be a difficult balancing act, and never more so than around dead week and finals week.
As you’re wrapping up the semester and heading into final exams, here are four quick tips to keep you grounded and sane. Happy studying!
Allot certain amounts of time to certain tasks. For example, you could give yourself one hour to work writing an essay for your literature class, then allow fifteen minutes for a snack break, then work on studying for your biology test for the next hour. This method keeps you on track, mitigates the feeling of being overwhelmed, and ensures that you are more efficient with your time.
Take a break.
We talk a lot about self-care, but it’s really hard to implement it during finals week when there is so much work to be done. But it’s especially important to be gentle with yourself when you are going through the stress of studying, writing, and cramming.
Make an effort to build time for breaks in your studying schedule. Here are some ideas for time-effective self-care habits that can alleviate some of your tension before you get back to hitting the books:
- Watch one episode of a funny Netflix show, such as The Office, Parks and Recreation, New Girl, or Arrested Development.
- Take a hot shower or bath.
- Go for a quick walk around campus or through your neighborhood.
- Read the first few chapters of a new book.
- Make a snack or dessert, like Chex Mix, chocolate chip cookies, or fancy popcorn.
- Go to a group fitness class. Many campus gyms offer activities like yoga, strength training, and pilates. If you live in a bigger city, you can also find many group fitness classes through ClassPass.
Recognize your source of energy.
If you’ve ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test (aka MBTI), you may recall that people are grouped into “Extroverts” and “Introverts” based on where they derive their energy. According to MBTI, Extroverts recharge by being around people and Introverts energize by having some alone time.
Recognize which of these groups you are more aligned with and arrange your down-time accordingly. If you get energy from being around people, finals week is not the time to be holed up in your dorm. Conversely, if you need time by yourself to get recharged, it may not be the best time to surround yourself with friends and family.
Even simple choices like where you study can help. For example, if you’re an Extrovert, you may find it preferable to study in an area with background noise and people around, like the campus coffee shop. If you’re an Introvert, you might want to try putting on your headphones and studying in privacy.
Being mindful of your energy source can help lessen your stress and empower you to be more efficient with your studying.
Listen to your body.
Your brain is working overtime during finals week, and under the stress of exams, your body will do the same. There’s a certain amount of “powering through” that has to happen during finals week – but don’t ignore the signs your body gives you to indicate exhaustion, hunger, and emotional stress.
So when you feel that you cannot keep your eyes open for a minute longer, don’t. Sleep.
When you are craving a snack, eat something.
When you feel on the edge of a breakdown, allow yourself to express your emotions in a healthy way.
Take care of your body during this crazy time!
What advice do you have about surviving final exams? Comment below!