Let’s be honest: everyone hates exam time.
Students, professors, administration alike—heck, I’m sure even our parents hate exam time, especially if you’ve had this conversation before with them: “Hey, so-and-so, how’s your grade in the-worst-class-ever?” and you simply smile and wave it off with a, “It’s a good thing I’ve got the final coming up, because it’ll be a real grade booster!” when you know darn well that you’ll be chugging down Red Bulls and coffee until the clock reads 8:01am and your exam starts.
Honestly, sometimes I think I’d rather be subjected to a million and a half hours of the music I hate (CHRISTMAS MUSIC BEFORE DECEMBER 1ST, or country music) than to sit in a desk for two hours and take an exam that measures how good my memory is. I don’t have a proposal for how to actually eliminate exams, so I’m not going to give my opinion here (read: they’re dumb), so I thought instead I would give some lesser-known self-care tips for exam time!
And you definitely don’t want to be the one face-planting onto your desk 3 minutes after the exam has started, do you?
1. Have your parents change your Netflix password.
Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. If you don’t have access to it, maybe you would be forced to study. Arrange a time to tell Ma and Pops that you’d love it if they could change the password, at least until finals are over.
Also mention that no matter however much you beg, you shouldn’t be given the password. It’s the week of finals; you probably have something else to do.
2. Lay on the ground.
This is an über weird one, but listen: students spend so much time hunched over their computers or books or whatever when studying that they forget that their backs are being tortured just as much as their brains are.
My solution? Lie on the ground.
No, I’m not saying go outside in the nippy and bitter air and lay down (although you do you; I’m in no position to judge), but you should take the time to lay on your back on the floor of your room and just relax. Close your eyes, maybe even have a little siesta. You don’t want to turn into Quasimodo before you pass your exams, do you? I don’t think he would, either.
3. DRINK WATER.
We spend an awful lot of time crying our eyes out while studying, and you def need to replenish that. Every person needs AT LEAST 64 ounces a day, but you shouldn’t be chugging it all at once. Spread it out, and you’ll feel much better.
4. Give your eyes a break.
“Screen time,” dominates our culture, and can lead to migraines, dehydration, and you forgetting to eat, shower, or sleep. But it can also strain your eyes, and, as someone with awful vision and swollen optic nerves, resting your eyes for ten minutes every hour is the way to go. If you need to reset your mind during that time, psychologists often suggest looking outside at nature for at least a minute. Fresh air will do you wonders, too. Maybe even a shower, if you’re not like me and don’t belt Barbra Streisand songs for thirty straight minutes in there every single day.
5. MAKE SURE YOU'RE VACCINATED.
I think this one’s simple enough: make sure you’re well-prepared against the terrible combination onslaught that is exam time and wintertime. Everyone’s stressed, everyone’s immune systems are down (stupid t-lymphocytes, WE NEED YOU), and there’s a high chance someone will be sniffling during exam review. Head down to your local drugstore and make sure you’ve gotten a flu shot.
Maybe stock up on tissues while you’re at it.
6. Don't pull all-nighters.
This one’s a toughie, because ‘college’ and ‘all-nighters’ are basically synonymous. But your brain can’t function on zero hours of sleep, and, unless you want to nap during your exam, you need to get some ZZZZZZzzzz’s. Preferably at least 6 hours. Try to avoid naps if you can, but if you’re going to take them, make them less than an hour—just long enough to rejuvenate you and get you back up and functioning again.
7. Add in some pleasure time.
And by pleasure, I don’t mean getting your Netflix password from your parents and bingewatching all ten episodes of Netflix’s The Crown. Try to do something that doesn’t involve screen time: chatting with friends, coloring, reading, walking outside, exercising, whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you’re not thinking about whatever you’re studying for. Take a break.
8. Eat, eat, eat!
Eat as many nutritional foods as possible. Don’t restrict foods, either. You want foods that are going to fuel you in the long run, not things like fast food or snicky snacks that will cause you to crash later. Think of it as an episode of Survivor—you’re trying to outlast your classmates and see who functions the best on proper food and sleep. If you thrive on competition, that may work for you. You can eat all the holiday cookies you want when you're back home for the holidays.
9. Keep things clean.
Trust me, this will only help with your sanity. Make sure piles are organized, your room’s not looking like it collapsed in on you, and make sure you’re clean as well—nothing helps reset the mind like a shower or bath. You’ll feel better about yourself if you are.
I think this is where Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford would say, “Treat yo self,” and I agree.
10. Hug someone!
Comfort is something we all crave, so when you’re stressed, find one of your besties and hug the crap out of them. Chances are that they’re probably stressed too, so it will benefit you both!
If you don’t like people, find an animal* nearby and hug the crap out of them. Just don’t injure yourself in the process.
*Please refrain from hugging wild animals. I don’t want to be sued because you thought I told you to hug a squirrel and it clawed your face off. Thanks.
11. ... Actually study.
WHOA. WHAT A CONCEPT.
Make flashcards. Use Quizlet. Do something à la Miley Stewart and make up a song for the 206 bones in our body. Whatever works best your you, be sure to do it. Nothing will feel better than that A you get when you know you’ve studied your hardest.
“Let’s get down to business… to defeat… the Huns!”--> also a quality pump-up song. Make a playlist and get down to business, people. You got this.