Seven Strategies to Avoid Finals Stress
Sweaty palms, flashcards stuffed in every pocket you possess, five-shot peppermint mochas, four hours of sleep per night, and an eye twitch that you just can’t seem to shake? Sounds like you’re feeling the effects of finals, and they haven’t even started yet!
For many freshmen (and even the occasional upperclassman), the anticipation of the legendary beast that is a college finals week is enough to throw them into a tailspin of worry.
However, the seemingly ferocious week is easy to tame if you have plans and strategies for success in place. This will be my seventh college finals week, and I’ve picked up some strategies along the way that have served well.
Here’s my advice to you:
1. Get enough sleep.
This is something that I often neglect, but it is important nonetheless. Without enough sleep, it is difficult to retain information and store it in your brain’s long-term memory base. How much sleep is enough? For most people, it’s around eight hours per night. However, this may be impossible or very difficult during finals week, so shoot for as many full REM cycles (about ninety minutes of sleep) as you can for optimum performance.
2. Study before you fall asleep.
I’m not talking about the minutes before you go to sleep, but about an hour before is ideal. This way, your brain won’t have more experiences to integrate before you go to sleep. I’m no psych major, so I don’t know the intricacies of how this works – just trust me that it does.
3. Make a plan.
If anyone is the opposite of a type-A personality, it is me. However, I still function better if I make a study plan for dead week (the week before finals) and finals week. Pick a schedule that allows you some wiggle room, but still allows you to accomplish what you need to get done.
4. Shake up your routine.
Mix up what you’re doing so that you don’t get sick of one subject or type of work. For example, write your MLA paper, then study for your Biology final, then work on your presentation, and so on.
5. Find a good place to study.
Be it the Kirkland library, the school library, St. James, Starbucks, or your floor’s lounge, find a place to study that has minimal distractions, bountiful caffeine reserves, and a soothing atmosphere.
6.Take time for fun!
Whether it’s going to the Improv show (shameless promotion), watching an episode of your favorite TV show, going shopping, or going on a completely platonic coffee date with an individual of the opposite gender, do something that makes you happy and alleviates your stress. You will be able to focus better if you have breaks between study sessions.
You will survive this. Regardless of what happens, life will go on, so prepare well and hope for the best. Good luck, citizens of Northwest. See you on the other side.
by Beth Ross, Staff Writer