Is insane. Not because I have a lot to do–I had two major projects last week that were the most stressful things of the semester. So yay I got them out of the way! Positive thoughts.
Finals week at college is crazy because of the vibe around campus. Everyone is just radiating little subatomic particles of stress and frustration. Sleep deprivation makes people look and feel crazy, as does the moment that you realize what’s going to be on the final was never covered in class. Students fall asleep on the floor of the library, in their sociology book, in the middle of eating a sandwich. It is insanity.
I know it’s easier for me to say, since I’m not cramming for a micro-econ exam or piano theory or whatever…but please take care of yourself during these crazy weeks! I’ve learned the hard way over the years that I do my best when I am happy, relaxed, well fed and well rested.
Here are my hard-won tips for a happy finals week:
1) Get Rest: This is really, really difficult. The studying, coupled with the exam anxiety, makes it hard for anyone to get rest! But all nighters are really not your best friend. I promise. Your brain pretty much stops working after you pass your natural bedtime (for me, that’s around 11:30 or midnight). I’m not saying you shouldn’t get anything done. I am saying that if you need to start a week earlier so you can go to bed at 1:00 instead of 6:00 am, try to make it happen.
2) Eat Smart: Last night, I caved and ate french fries for a late night study break. How did I feel? Happy! For about five seconds. Then I felt groggy, gross, and greasy. Not really how I want to feel when I’m trying to work at maximum capacity. Load up on fruit and veggies and complex carbs this week (like popcorn, whole wheat pasta or bread, etc.). DRINK WATER! This is vital, especially for us performance majors. Don’t use studying as an excuse to skip meals–your mind will not work at it’s full capacity if you are starving it for nutrients.
3) Do Something You Like: Yesterday, I melted a candle on my awesome candle warmed and took a bubble bath. Yes, it took away from studying time. But take thirty minutes you would have spent on Facebook and devote it to something calming and wonderful! Do yoga, take a little walk, journal, read a book…it will take you out of the stress and get you focused again.
4) Indulge a Little: I’m not going to say that the calories don’t count during finals. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel gross after you over indulge. But want a cup of hot cocoa? Need that bar of dark chocolate peppermint bark? I say go for it. Sweet treats boost your dopamine and make you happier. Do not go out and get a greasy fast food meal, though. Save your indulgences for homemade sweet treats or delicious high-calorie health foods. Full bag of pretzel chips and hummus, anyone?
5) Get Outside: Excercise helps your brain work faster and more efficiently. If you can fit it in somewhere, go out and take a walk or a jog. Even just enjoying the walk to your finals could make a difference in your day. Take a deep breath of the fresh air and remember that there is a world outside of the classrooms.
6) Remember There Is Life After Finals: even thought they suck. It is not, I repeat, is not the end of the world. Take a deep breath. Breath into focus. Forget the stress, and just DO IT. Life goes on. I am getting through by remembering: I will be home in TWO DAYS. Two. Days.
Good luck guys! And keep on trucking. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.