There is a saying that we all probably have heard before: "You're a student before you're an athlete." Whether it applies to you or not, we all understand the meaning behind this quote. However, we tend not to apply it to other situations when we should.

As the semester is coming to an end, the stress and dread of finals are beginning to sink in. It might be a few weeks before, a week before, a couple of days before, or even the night before your final(s). Either way, we as students need to remember this quote (just slightly modified).

"You are a human before you are a student."

Finals are filled with pressure and expectations and overwhelming days and nights of cramming as much information back into our brains. We doubt that we even learned half the information in class, but usually, we remember more than we realize. So as you begin your stressful pre-finals ritual, please remember to not let your mental and physical health slip. It is way more important than a grade that you won't even care about in years, months, or even days to come!

Students (myself included) tend to expect the worst when it comes to finals and doubt any skills and knowledge we gained over the semester. And while we feel the need to study and prepare almost every second until the final starts, breaks are necessary. You can't set yourself up for success if you aren't also taking care of yourself.

Every now and then… go get food, workout, hang with a friend, take a nap, meditate, watch a movie, listen to music. Whatever you do to de-stress and relax, go do it! Your mind needs a break, not a breaking point.

Yes, it is important to study the materials in order to be successful in your finals, but it is also just as important to be healthy in order to be successful during finals week. Sleep deprivation, sickness, and mental breakdowns, for starters, are only going to prevent you from putting your best foot forward.

Be thoughtful about how you're going about your pre-finals ritual. Schedule study time, homework time (if you have those professors...we all know them...I apologize), food time, relax time, and time to sleep! Sleep tends to be the aspect that gets adjusted the most during finals, but it is one of the most important! Your mind and body need time to recover. Some say it's even beneficial to sleep after studying because it helps memory retention… Think of it as extra studying time!

Ultimately, just remember, life is bigger than school and grades. Living and taking care of yourself is more important than one test. It may not always seem like it now, but it's not as big of a deal when you put it into perspective to the rest of your life. Don't stress yourself out. You are more prepared than you give yourself credit for. You've made it this far! You're almost done, so why not set yourself up for success by making sure you're doing everything right for yourself (mentally and physically) in order to be fully present and ready to face any final.

This is short and sweet because who has time during finals to read a long article?! Just know, it's not as bad as it seems. You got this! One day you'll look back and realize you didn't need to stress as much. Everyone wants you to succeed and do your best. And that means doing more than just studying 24/7.

Wishing you the best!