Every college student's worst nightmare is approaching: finals. The common thoughts that accompany finals week are all-nighters, stress, coffee, more stress, less sleep, and even more coffee. All that is typically taken into account is passing at any and all costs, which is understandable. I mean, we're paying for classes to pass them, not fail them.
The emphasis on doing well on finals is brought on not only by the cost of the class, but your parents, your GPA, and every factor you could possibly create in your head. We put nothing before our finals, not friends, Netflix, nor our sanity. In fact, around finals every year, an image surfaces around that says "Pain is temporary, GPA is forever," when this is the exact opposite of what needs to be preached during finals. Nothing, not even finals, is worth more than your mental health. While this is a lighthearted joke, it packs a punch with a very dangerous message.
College students are already stressed out a good amount of the school year between course load, personal lives, and the fact that we're told to figure out what we're going to do with the rest of our lives. Mental breakdowns and panic attacks are common any time in the school year. Driving into someone's mind that their performance on a cumulative final designed for failure is more important than emotional and mental health is cruel and should not be the message we're promoting as fellow students.
I'm not here to say that GPA isn't important. It's there and measured for a reason. That little number could determine a lot, but it does not determine your worth as a person or your state of mind. Take it from someone who's failed a class, and who has stressed themselves out to the brink; it's not worth it. Sleeping a grand total of 10 minutes and caffeine binges happen, but do not make it a habit or your main form of studying. Not taking care of yourself sets you up to fail way more than not studying.
Everyone has their remedies and philosophies for insane studying, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to give your brain a break. You could have pressure from everything around you to do your best, so don't let the source of that pressure come from you. Set realistic goals; a grade that you can actually attain and still feel accomplished about. This isn't supposed to be easy, it's not the way school was designed. But you can accomplish so much more if you go about finals week the right way, the healthy way.
To simply put it, take care of yourself first. Make sure you're eating something of substance and drinking water. Take breaks, because the more you stare at a screen or textbook without breaks, the more you're going to resist looking at it or retaining any of the information. And most importantly, sleep. Like, actually sleep, don't just a few naps here and there.
You can do amazingly on your finals and put your mental health first, you just need to manage it properly and take the time you need to study. The more time you set aside before your finals to study, the better. Know your limits and know that no matter what the grades are at the end of the week, you are only human and you can only do your best. You are loved, and someone out there, even if it's your dog, wants you to be OK. Don't let your GPA dictate your personal health. Your GPA may be on a piece of paper forever, but you have your mind with you forever. Don't lose it over Organic Chemistry.