How to Survive Hell Week and Finals Week

How to Survive Hell Week and Finals Week

Ready or not, here they come...

Across the country, college students are preparing for hell week (the week before finals) and for finals week. These two weeks are two of the four most stressful weeks for every college kid. If you haven't experienced this yet, be prepared to feel every emotion and to consider every option there possibly is just to get out of finals. Different students have different ways of serving these two weeks - we go through hell and back, but we end up surviving and living to tell the tale.

1. Spread out your studying, don't just cram it all in the night before.

Surprise! You have a final in a week and, guess what, you've known about it ever since your professor handed you their syllabus. If you look and plan ahead, you won't have to worry about pulling an all-nighter the day before an exam.

2. Make use of your Keurig, coffeepot, or campus coffee shop.

If you do end up pulling an all-nighter, you're going to need energy, so you're going to need caffeine. Coffee can be expensive, especially if you haven't worked it into your budget. Whenever I have a study session, I make sure that it is in a building that is near the coffee shop on campus or has a vending machine with coffee in it.

3. Limit your all-nighters.

I'm not going to tell you that you aren't going to stay up all night once or twice before finals because you most likely will, especially if you're trying to get in some last minute studying. However, please don't be that person that does it three or four nights in a row. It isn't good for your body and you'll be pushing yourself past your limit, even if you've done it before.

4. Do not forget to eat.

I will personally preach to you to eat healthy during these times. It seems silly but your body needs the brain food more than the junk food during this time. It's OK to order the pizza once or twice a week, but make sure that you are also balancing it out with other healthy options - your body will thank you for it later. Also, try to keep your eating schedule the same as well.

5. Make use of online tools.

Believe it or not, but your computer can also find sites other than Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest that can actually help you study. I personally use Quizlet for flashcards, which really help with foreign language classes. Another hack is to google "site:edu [subject] exam." With this it will bring up different college exams and practice problems that can help you study.

6. Don't be afraid to take breaks.

If you've been studying for a long period of time, don't be afraid to take a break - your brain deserves one. It's OK to watch one episode of Netflix to ease your mind off things, it won't kill you - just don't let that one episode turn into a marathon and watch an entire season. Apart from Netflix, make sure that you take breaks to eat and drink plenty of water. If you have time, take a moment or two to stretch and even go outside - your body will need the fresh air from being cooped up inside all day.

7. Form study groups with people who actually study.

This is something that everyone is going to stress because you're actually going to need to study. At the beginning of the semester, or during mid-terms, make a study group of people who will actually study with you. Get your stuff done sooner so you can study for other classes as well. If you do form a study group, make sure to reserve a room up to a week in advance, if you can, so that way you aren't going on a massive search to find a study room. Surround yourself with people who are going to stay on task so that way you stay on task.

8. Know your learning style.

Everyone has their own way of learning - some learn better in groups, while some learn better by just rereading through their textbook and notes. Don't try to force yourself to study in a way that isn't your way of learning because it won't do much for you. If flash cards work best for you, make flashcards or use Quizlet. If groups work best for you, make a group and talk out all the information.

9. Exercise and keep up your usual routine.

Even if you feel like you don't have the time, you can easily make the time. Hit the gym and take your flash cards or textbook with you. Last hell week and finals week, I found that the gym was the busiest because people were getting their endorphins pumping since it can make a world of a different on your stress levels. Do not drastically rearrange your life just because of finals. Get up at the same time, head to bed at the same time, eat at the same time, shower at the same time - your body is used to your routine, don't change it.

10. Write out your schedule for the last month of school.

At the beginning of the mouth (or middle), make a calendar that you can arrange when every assignment is due and when your finals are - it will feel great when you get to cross off something that you've been work on forever. This will also help you stay organized.

11. Get rid of all possible distractions.

Turn off your phone and tv, you can have music playing, but make sure you have all screens off (except for your computer if you're actually using it productively). See everything as a distraction and don't get caught up in the never-ending scrolling because before you know it, it's midnight and you've only studied for all of 10 minutes. Some people really like to use earplugs - I would recommend this for exams and studying in public spaces because even the quietest noise can be distracting.

12. It's OK to cry about it, but don't stress out to the point of death.

We all do it - we all cry and that's OK. We all know that hell week and finals week are tough, but don't let that stress make you spontaneously combust. If you do cry, try not to get it on any papers that you have to hand into your professor - they may count off for tear streaks.

Overall, hell week and finals week is a rough time in all of our lives, but it is possible to live through it. Keep your life and sh*t together (somewhat) and you'll be just fine. I have full confidence that y'all will make it through finals and pass with flying colors. Happy hell week! And happy (almost) finals week! (PS, remember, soon they will be a thing of the past!

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!


Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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