It’s almost that time of year when all college students disappear into the depths of the library and drown in a pool of papers, exams, and stress. We’re just weeks away: finals week.
Finals week is the most dreaded week of the semester for everyone, no matter what year in college you are. It’s all about priorities, discipline, and time management (I’ve already tackled that one for you here). This year, I’ve created a guide for all college students on how to survive the hardest week of the semester.
While we’re still a few weeks away, go ahead and start reviewing. Be extra mindful about what you’re learning in class right now and try to take good notes on the material so that you won’t have to focus on it as much when review time rolls around. If you go ahead and start outlining your chapters and prepare a good study guide, you’ll set yourself up nicely for the future. This will be so helpful in the long run.
This is important for your physical and mental health. During finals week, I often find myself sitting in one place for hours on end. Sometimes just getting up from the table and moving around can help get your blood flowing and your brain thinking straight again. So schedule a trip to the gym or even just a quick walk around campus – it can make all the difference!
Perhaps the most infamous stereotype about finals week is that you must pull an all-nighter in order to memorize all the information you need to know. However, this could be the most detrimental thing you do! Just like exercising, this is something that you must make time for in order to let your brain reset itself. Schedule times for short power naps and discipline yourself to go to bed by a certain time each night. You won’t get anything done by forcing yourself to stay awake!
Utilize your resources.
Don’t forget that your professors are there for a reason. No matter what you may think, they do want to see you succeed. So utilize them! Meet with them outside of class and ask them what is the most important thing for you to review. They will be grateful that you’re taking initiative and showing how much you care. Also, ask people in your class to study together. This can be extremely helpful if you find some people with similar study habits that will verbally process all the information with you. Don’t forget — you’re not alone in this!
Find the way you study best and stick to it.
This can be one of the hardest parts about finals week, especially if you’re a college newbie. There is no certain way that everyone retains information best, so you really just have to try a few different ways and decide what works best for you. I seem to study best by rewriting my notes or creating quizlets and flipping through those a few times. However, this isn’t what works for everyone. So start now, brainstorming your strengths and weaknesses when studying and find something that fits you best.
Stay off your phone.
So hard but so important!! This is one of the biggest distractions for me when I study, but I’ve found that putting my phone on Do Not Disturb and sitting it across the room from me helps a ton. I allow myself every hour or so to go look at it, but other than that, it stays away from me so I can ensure that I focus. Also, if you’re really struggling with the temptation on your computer or phone, download an app or use a website that blocks certain sites from your browser for a period of time (this one is my favorite). It sounds a bit extreme, but if this is what it takes, then use it! You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Schedule time for fun.
Finals week doesn’t have to be a black hole of stress and anxiety – it can also be a week of quality time and laughter! You may think I’m crazy, but think about it. All of your friends suddenly have a week with no class, no job, and no responsibility other than to prepare for their exams. So schedule a fun dinner, a movie night, or a random outing (last year it was an evening at the trampoline jump park). Take advantage of having some extra time and embrace every moment – you are in college, remember?
Good luck to all during this finals season! My thoughts are with you!