As I embark on my last finals week, I feel now is the best time to describe how to survive a classic finals week. You may have hours worth of papers, lots of pretend studying, and a backward to do in what is a week of mayhem, but hey, you can survive it. Here are my tips to survive it and maybe thrive a little during your least favorite time of the year.
1. Drink Copious Amounts of Water (Not Coffee)
Here's the thing, the more you drink, the more you absolutely have to take a break in order to use the bathroom. If you're going to do that, you might as well hydrate yourself and stay away from caffeine which wrecks your sleep cycle, the thing that actually can help keep you successful on tests. This is why, drinking ridiculous amounts of water is not only great for your health, but also fantastic for your ability to take 'necessary' breaks that are completely viable excuses to space out.
2. Sleep At Least 5-6 Hours
Now, eight hours is actually what you should be doing, but I understand that sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day, or your body has naturally started sleeping less because you've let your sleep schedule go to the way side during college. Getting at least a reasonable amount of sleep so that you are potentially tired but are still mentally viable is the goal, especially since so many students choose sleep as the first thing to go when they get super busy.
Work on what is absolutely necessary and what is due the soonest. This seems self evident, but how many times have students used a project due far in advance, or something that is technically productive and more fun as a break and then gotten caught up in it and not done the paper due tomorrow. Has college taught me writing a six page paper in one day is possible? Yes. If we can somehow work against that, shouldn't we? Yes. Truly prioritize what needs to get done, and when you get the worst paper or study for the most horrific test, instead of putting it off, your stress levels decrease and you don't have the awful dread of doing it looming over you as long.
4. Take Breaks
Please take breaks. Be it a short walk, leisure reading, or one or two Netflix programs, make sure you clear your head once in awhile in order to keep thinking clearly. Burning out doesn't help your GPA or make you more productive, it exhausts you and creates a situation where you begin to care less and less. Making sure you stay mentally and socially healthy is a huge part of finals week. Even if you feel like you can't take a break because you let overdue work go for too long or that you absolutely can't, you'd be surprised how much time you can take considering the time you'll naturally space out or have to rewrite something you did after you were past your limit.
5. Find Your Productive Time
Not every time of the day is naturally productive. Some people are night owls, some are early risers, and some find a kick midway throughout the day. Find that chunk of time that you always feel the most motivated or have a natural tendency to get most work done and always schedule that time for work. Get away from distractions and sit down and just do it. That way, the time you usually spent doing something else will be spent taking a break with friends or on something you love.