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Finals stress

December 6, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: students finding places to sleep in almost every building on campus, late-night runs for Starbucks and highlighting notes for hours on end. Finals week is fast approaching.

Like most students, you’ve probably been warned by your professors not to put off writing your final papers and studying for exams until the last minute.

There’s always a lot of work to do in a little amount of time. Each class has some sort of cumulative project — an essay, a presentation, an exam, etc. — and each requires several days of work to prepare. How do you get it all done?

We all get stressed out right before finals week each year, no matter how hard we try not to. Georgetown University says that there are several different signs of stress that you can identify: impatience, frustration, and irritability over minor things; feeling increasingly disorganized and forgetful; difficulty making even small decisions, eye twitches; chronic fatigue or difficulty sleeping; stomach problems; and frequent feelings of anxiety or panic.

If you’ve been feeling even slightly stressed out, take comfort in the idea that every other student at UT is right there with you. We at the IC have had our fair share of crazy preparations for finals. Here are just a few tips to making the best of the end of the semester.

  • Having an effective study strategy

            Cramming all the information you need into your head two hours before an exam isn’t going to work very well. Even doing a study session the day before the exam isn’t the best idea.

Instead, try spacing out your different study sessions in the days ahead of your exams. Do a several-hour study block for astronomy, take a break and then study for your calculus final.

Repeat the next day. Make time for all the subjects you need to study, and do it effectively in small groups.

  • Making “off” time – and letting “off” hours stay “off” hours

            No one can review for 24 hours a day, even if you’re a super student. Just as a break is important in having an effective study session, it’s vital that your break stays a break.

Don’t let yourself get overloaded. In your break time — whether it's half an hour or 10 minutes — completely stop studying.

Stare at your phone, text your friends and do something that shuts your mind off for a moment.

  • Sleep enough

            Everyone loves napping and sleeping. You have to be crazy in order to pop right out of bed in the morning.

During finals week, it is very easy for you to lose sleep or put it off in favor of studying. Don’t do that.

It’s a bad idea to stay up for long periods of time and use your brain constantly. Rest is just as important as naming all the muscles in the arm.

If you shrug off sleep, your brain doesn’t refresh, and doesn’t do as well at retaining information.

  • Don’t abuse caffeine

            Many college students don’t even think about going to the library without a venti of black coffee. Others don’t need it to survive.

In the case of finals week, students sometimes substitute caffeine for sleep.

Carlson Library’s trash cans overfill with Starbucks cups and RedBull cans during finals week. The quick fix of caffeine to keep you awake may end in some pretty nasty circumstances. Sugar crashes, irregular sleep and general fatigue does not help you study any better.

Get some sleep, drink some tea and study more efficiently to avoid running on caffeine fumes.

  • Unplugging

            You are not going to be able to write your English final if you’re pulling out your phone to play Pocket Camp every two minutes. The same thing goes for any form of social media.

“Unplugging” is the best way for anyone to get actual work done for finals.

Leave your phone in your bookbag, your bedroom or shut it down completely. This doesn’t work as well if you can open Tumblr and Reddit on your laptop, but resist the urge.

Let your study sessions be actual study sessions.

There are always going to be finals, and it's up to you to find the best way to deal with them. Finals will not kill you, no matter how hard they try.

Good luck on your finals and happy holidays!

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