How To Survive Finals Week

How To Survive Finals Week

Sleep? We don't know her.


When it's 4 a.m. and the Langsam Library floor has never looked comfier, you know what week it is. The last week before winter break, every creature was stirring, even the desktop mouse. Awake are the desperate crammers, the professional procrastinators, and the chronic overachievers. There's a frantic buzz of studying and test-taking in the air mingling with the scent of coffee. Before you have your next scheduled mental breakdown, here are a few tips on how to stay sane during this season.

1. Create a study schedule.

This means looking ahead at your calendar and planning out what times you have to study for which exams. It doesn't have to be written out in a fancy planner (unless you're THAT person... aka me). It can literally be as simple as a day-by-day breakdown on a page torn from your notebook or a saved note on your phone. This will keep you from feeling too overwhelmed trying to think about five different tests at once since you have everything laid out in front of you. It also allows you to then schedule in free time as well, something you shouldn't neglect this week. Seriously, take the 10 minutes to plan. You will thank yourself later.

2. Eliminate distractions.

I'm definitely guilty of using my designated "study hour" to scroll through every app I have on my phone or watch way too many episodes of a show on Netflix. Discipline yourself to put your phone away or set social media limits for yourself. You can live without staying updated on your feed for a few days. Eliminating distractions can also mean choosing a different environment to work in. If you can't stay focused in your dorm room, reserve a study space in the library or head to a local coffee shop. My favorite question to ask upperclassmen is their best study spots on and around campus.

3. Study smarter, not harder.

Use all the resources at your disposal. If your professor or TA offers a study session, make it a priority to go. Start reviewing your notes as early as possible and if you have any questions, reach out to get the answers. If there's a study guide available, fill it out. Try to combat passive studying by taking study breaks and utilizing different methods of processing information. Flashcards (or Quizlet!), whiteboards (helpful for long equations!), and re-writing notes (with color-coding) can all help. If you work better with friends, then get a study group to go over the material together. Being able to successfully explain a concept to someone else is typically a good sign that you have mastery over it.

4. Eat & Exercise.

Supplying your body with healthy food will help your brain perform at its capacity. Avoid the urge to munch on vending machine snacks... the quick calories of processed carbohydrates won't satisfy those hunger pangs for long. Eat as many whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh vegetables as you can. Also, putting your notecards aside to head to the gym is a smart move that is proven to boost your brain power and reduce stress. "Physiologically, the benefits reaped from at least 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running, biking, or training on the elliptical machine, can last for up to 12 hours, according to Dr. Leavis, associate professor of physiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and senior scientist at Boston Biomedical Research Institute."


I know it seems impossible, but if you stick to your schedule, you should have enough time to get a good night's rest. Tired brains do not recall information well and no one wants to accidentally sleep through their 8 a.m. final because they stayed up too late studying for it.

Best of luck to everyone this week!

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To The Defeated Nursing Major, You'll Rise

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You will have weeks when you are defeated. Some mornings you won't be able to get out of bed and some days you won't be able to stop crying enough to go to class. You'll feel like nobody understands the stress that you are under, and you have absolutely nobody to talk to because they either don't get it or are dealing with their own meltdowns. There will be weeks that you want to change your major and give up on the whole thing. But, you'll rise.
You will miss football games, concerts, and nights out with the girls. There will be stretches of two or more weeks you'll go without seeing your mom, and months where you have to cancel on your best friend 4+ times because you have too much studying to do. There will be times where no amount of "I'm sorry" can make it up to your little brother when you miss his big football game or your grandparents when you haven't seen them in months. But, you'll rise.

You will have patients who tell you how little they respect nurses and that you won't be able to please no matter how hard you try. You will have professors who seem like their goal is to break you, especially on your bad days. You will encounter doctors who make you feel like the most insignificant person on the planet. You will leave class some days, put your head against your steering wheel and cry until it seems like there's nothing left to cry out. But, you'll rise.

You will fail tests that you studied so hard for, and you will wing some tests because you worked too late the night before. You will watch some of the smartest people you've ever known fail out because they simply aren't good test-takers. You will watch helplessly as your best friend falls apart because of a bad test grade and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do for her. There will be weeks that you just can't crack a smile no matter how hard you try. But, you'll rise.

You'll rise because you have to — because you've spent entirely too much money and effort to give up that easily. You'll rise because you don't want to let your family down. You'll rise because you're too far in to stop now. You'll rise because the only other option is failing, and we all know that nurses do not give up.

You'll rise because you remember how badly you wanted this, just three years ago as you were graduating high school, with your whole world ahead of you. You'll rise because you know there are people that would do anything to be in your position.

You'll rise because you'll have one patient during your darkest week that'll change everything — that'll hug you and remind you exactly why you're doing this, why this is the only thing you can picture yourself doing for the rest of your life.

You'll rise because every single day that you slip on your navy blue scrubs and fling your pretty little stethoscope around your neck, the little girl that you once were with the dream of saving lives someday will be silently nudging you to keep going.

You'll rise because you have compassion, you are selfless, and you are strong. You'll rise because even during the darkest weeks, you have the constant reminder that you will be changing the world someday.

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You Have To Be A Little Selfish In College

College is in an experience unlike any other, and as a student, you have to be you own priority.


Growing up, I have always been taught that being selfish was a bad thing. A part of human nature is that you should try to avoid or suppress your feelings. With that being said, through my college experiences thus far, I have learned that being selfish isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Let me explain.

In college, you have to be your own advocate; That's one of the very first things I learned. By this, I mean no one is holding your hand and you really have to be able to stand your own ground and make good decisions for yourself. As part of being your own advocate, you end up putting yourself first, and it's actually not a bad thing. It really is up to each individual student to learn, make good grades, and take care of themselves, so that means you have to put yourself first.

Since I have started attending college, I have also put much more emphasis on myself over others. This just seemed to happen without me realizing it because I wasn't doing it on purpose. I just think the whole atmosphere of college forces students to be a little selfish.

I mention this because every professor expects all of their students to do their own work, do it well, and turn it on time. No professor has ever told me to remind others of the assignments that are due or to help another student with a problem. It's up to the individual student to be proactive and get their own work done.

This expectation of students to be in charge of themselves and their work is also reflected outside of school in the professional work environment, so being a little selfish is actually a useful skill to have for now and the future.

Going along with being a little selfish, I have also learned you really have to do what is best for you, even if it might upset someone else. Some examples are: moving into a different dorm, dropping a class, stop talking to certain people, and so forth.

Being in college has really shown me that being a little selfish is good and is needed in some situations. Because at the end of the day, how well a student performs in college is completely up to them, and in order to succeed, sometimes you have to put yourself first.

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