Hurricane Carnival has come and gone, and through the Solo cup graveyard, Beeler begins to rebuild. Your head hurts, your muscles ache, and you're vaguely stoked to return to a humane sleep schedule. Maybe cleansing your poor tortured body with a protein shake or an early morning run will make you feel like a person again. Maybe vegetating in bed will do the job better.
The dawn of a new day may seem to promise safe passage around Carnegie Mellon's campus, but a false sense of security will be our downfall. A new storm is brewing on the horizon. Formal season is in the air, yes, but so is a fat amount of pollen. Tie yourselves to this ship's mast and pop some Benadryl, kids; finals week is upon us.
There was no time to see it coming. With the campus suddenly basking in the glow of spring, it's never been so easy to get derailed by that friend with a car or the friendly neighborhood slack line. Sexy distractions are sprouting up faster than the dandelions, but all resources need to be funneled to defensive strategy.
This isn't a wake-up call; this is a call to arms.
Take a moment to remember a weaker you, that version of yourself that watched the sun slowly rise into the sky after a sorry night of espresso shots and cramming. You put your head down on a hard surface in some corner of campus, let your sticky eyes hug shut for just a moment, and beat back every instinct telling you to stay down. My heart's bleeding for you already. That damned soul needs a hero.
To be the hero you always needed, equip yourself early to slay this finals season. This means different things for different people, but you'll need to start by knowing the enemy inside and out. List out every monster in your closet and make a comprehensive attention list. No final project left behind.
Then you'll need to eradicate any delusion of recess. There's no winner in the waiting game, so time is the only adversary you can't afford to kill. I know you think you can write that paper in one overnight rage, but Commando Sandman will be waiting for you in the trenches. That being said, he's lurking at every corner, so you'll want to overstock your arsenal.
Before heading into the fray, prepare an ammo belt full of 5-Hour Energy, a quality set of noise-canceling headphones, at least three packs of Lunchables, and a thermos full of coffee or tea—the poison is yours to pick. You'll also want a huge jug of water. Better yet, substitute water with coconut water if you can (electrolytes! Also, science had proven that coconut water is devastatingly delicious and if you disagree you need to wake up).
Finally, you'll need to anticipate the enemy and pack an emergency scarf or sweater. It'll serve as a poor man's pillow, but if you have the gall you can just bring in the real thing. Strategic napping can save your life in a pinch. Always plan twenty minutes for a power nap or an hour for some real cognitive recuperation. Under no means take a thirty-minute nap, cadet. Ever heard of sleep inertia? This sly traitor will trip you if you wake up around the half hour marker, rendering you groggy, disoriented and easily distracted for up to four hours.
Lastly, don't forget that you have friends out in the field. Professors can be your best allies if you need to call in for reinforcements, and typically a few noble TAs will be more than willing to provide salvation as well.
Just email them now. Right now. If you kept reading then you probably aren't emailing them immediately, and someone else may have already taken your potential slot. Email them anyways. If nothing else, this reveals that you care enough about your grades to reach out, and in a large lecture that can mean the difference between treading water with a barely B or drowning in the stormy C. May the grading gods have mercy on you.
Other than that, it's really up to you to think on your feet based on your finals week forecast. The onslaught will seem relentless, but know that the sweet Valhalla of summer will be waiting for you on the other side. In a crisis, you can keep an IV of java on hand, but keep in mind that "battery acid" and "varnish remover" also come up as synonyms when you type "coffee" into thesaurus.com.
Put your health first or you'll shoot yourself in the foot. An ace GPA will do nothing for a corpse, and the only casualties in this war should be your ravaged exams. I've got faith in you, so just remember to stay hungry, but stay fed, and stay away from that cute foreign exchange student's social media page.