How To Survive Finals Week

Teresa Barker Photography

How To Survive Finals Week: Written by a Student, for a Student

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… besides the fact that it’s finals szn. Professors are piling on work, those assignments we’ve been procrastinating are creeping up on us, and all we want is Christmas break. And sleep. God, i miss sleep.

Right now I am feeling overwhelmed to be quite honest with you. Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed, too, in which case we can be buddies and sit and procrastinate together!!

SIKE. That’s the opposite of what we’re going to do. The only way out of finals week is through, and so I’m bracing myself for war. Just, you know, of the academic kind.

First things first: Get Started Early

My worst bad habit when it comes to school is procrastination. Although, I forced myself out of that this time around by having SO much to do that I literally cannot procrastinate. Am I tired? Yes. Is all my work getting done? Somehow.

But seriously, I 100% understand that it’s hard to buckle down and just do the work. For so long, I would avoid it. Sometimes I’d even procrastinate in the most efficient ways: by working on my blog, working out, socializing, cleaning, etc. And while I made progress in those areas of my life, I was falling behind in the one area that truly needed my focus.

But, pushing off my work until the last minute would just about triple my stress load. If I spaced out the work I had to get done, the end of the semester would not only be more bearable, but also more enjoyable.

My legit advice

So, my advice to you is the same thing I told myself. I’m just going to have to say no here and there to some other things I’d like to do if it means I get to get ahead a bit on work. So, I’m not spending as much time in the mornings getting ready so that I can have more time to sleep. I had to say no to some social plans because I had sh*t to do, and I knew that if I said yes I’d only be causing myself way more stress and anxiety down the line.

Right now, you need to cut some of your time away from other things and dedicate it towards schoolwork. Even if you fall slightly behind in some other areas of your life right now, don’t sweat it.

Am I saying to sacrifice your mental and physical health entirely for school? Absolutely not. But, what I am saying, is that something’s gotta give. So, maybe instead of shooting for a 50/50 balance, maybe you’re looking more at a 60/40 with school/fun. And that’s only until either a) break comes or b) you inevitably complete all your work early and can resume to your normal, balanced lifestyle.

You know that if you aren’t going to be up late studying you’re going to be up late anyways watching Netflix, YouTube, playing a game, Facetiming your boyfriend, and so on. Might as well use that time productively for this last week or two.

I say this from personal experience

This mentality is one I only recently began adopting. It’s because in the past, I used to freak out if I didn’t have enough “me” time. I wouldn’t have as much time as I wanted to do basic self-care things. Things like getting enough sleep, eating good meals, doing face masks, self-tanning, and having down time to relax.

But, I realize now that I was being unrealistic. Keeping it in perspective that this is only a temporary thing where I fall slightly behind on self-care helps me stay calm and focused on academics.

With That Being Said, Still Make Time for Self-Care

Even though you might not have time to do all the things you usually do/would like to do. Still make time to do some of the things you need to do for yourself. Even if it’s putting on a face mask while you study, taking a nap because your body needs some rest, or doing something creative to get your mind off of school. It’s important to ask yourself what your mind & soul needs, and fulfill those needs a little bit.

Personally, this means that I still make time throughout my days to work on my blog, move my body even if it’s just a walk, to see Erick to keep me sane, and to play some video games/app games on my phone to mentally decompress. But, it also means I’m skipping on self-tanning, my time spent with Erick is mostly spent doing work/blog things, and not having as much time to see friends until break.

I want to reiterate that you shouldn’t sacrifice your health for your GPA. Besides, you won’t do as well as you could on exams or projects unless you’re taking care of yourself, first. So, remember, strive to keep some form of balance, even if it’s 60/40. That extra 10% will help a lot more than you may think if you use it wisely and effectively.

My Other Tips to Finish the Semester Strong & Sane:

Write Everything Down. And I mean everything. With so many exams, projects, papers, presentations, plans, etc. to keep track of, it’s more than likely something will slip your mind. Without my planner, I think I’d miss half my deadlines and plans. So, as soon as you know you have something to do, write that down in your planner/phone so you’ll remember.

Figure Out if You Need to Work Alone or With Somebody. If you’re someone who get’s distracted easily, maybe make a quiet place in the library with a cup of coffee and earbuds your new home for the next week. Or, on the contrary, if you’re someone who becomes your own worst distraction when you’re alone, make plans to be with someone more often so their presence will help hold you accountable to do your work.

Work Hard, then Play Hard. Do the hard school things in the beginning of your day, so that it leaves you with time to do something personally fulfilling later. For example, today I need to do the following 7 things: make two PowerPoint presentations for two different classes, a short answer writing homework assignment, type up a short paper, film a part of a video, workout, and replace my phone. My plan is to do all the schoolwork first. After that comes my blog, then the rest depends on timing. It’s best to get the school stuff out of the way first because there’s a deadline. Plus, once it’s done, you’ll feel so relieved.

Those are the ways I plan to try not dying during finals week, and so far so good. I’m still alive and thriving.

I hope that this helps you feel like you have a little more control over your finals!

Thanks for reading & I’ll see you soon

, Teresa

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