You’ve been preparing for them all semester. Professors mention them to instill fear in your heart and make you shake in your boots. Your grades sit in anticipation, waiting for one last thing to send them soaring high or falling flat.
Yeah. Finals are here.
Don’t panic. Finals may seem terrifying and ominous, but they aren’t. People (e.g. professors, parents, etc.) try to blow finals in to the end-all, be-all of one’s college career, as if they are the guillotine of your education.
They aren’t. A final is just another test. And just like any other test, there are ways to prepare yourself so you can shine.
Usually during finals, eating and sleeping habits completely fly off the handle. It’s like starting college all over again, and some people get so stressed that they don’t eat or sleep. Attempt to avoid this by maintaining a routine. Eat three meals a day. Sleep for at least seven hours a night. You’ll feel good and retain information better this way.
Make sure you’re eating well. Eat every food group, and try to steer away from snacking while studying. Study munchies are the worst, and they won’t help your stress. If you really need a snack, go with something healthy and crunchy like carrots or an apple. Make sure to eat protein too, as it helps with energy levels. You don’t have to eat meat to get protein; try eating nuts or peanut butter as well.
Remember that balance is key.
Exercise. I kid you not, you will be happy you did. It doesn’t have to be long. It could be a 10 minute jaunt around campus, but get up and move. My favorite thing to do for study breaks is turn up my favorite dance music and sing really loud. Leap around the room for a while — heck, get your roommate to join in. Movement releases endorphins, which eases stress. Exercise also helps to replenish energy, which is exactly what you need so you can hit the books.
Study hard, but be kind to yourself. Try not to procrastinate until the night before, especially if the final is cumulative. You’ll kick yourself forever if you wait to learn a semester’s worth of informationight in one n. Break your studying into blocks. Save the stuff you know for your final review, and work on the material that gives you trouble. Use your professor or your teaching assistant’s office hours. Try one of the resources around campus to help when you get stuck. Take plenty of breaks.
Reward yourself. When you’re done studying, take a hot shower, pop in a favorite movie, and chill out. After a hard day of studying, give yourself a treat, like a piece of chocolate or an extra cookie at dinner. Balance your life by taking care of yourself and indulging in pleasure, as well.
It might seem tempting to drown your stress in massive amounts of alcohol. A lot of people party like crazy the week before finals. My suggestion? Resist. I understand that you want to take stress away, but blacking out and throwing up everywhere is not the way to do it. If you feel the need to go out, structure your drinking accordingly so that you aren’t hung over the day of your final. Consider partying less than normal. Be smart, and know your limits. You’ll be grateful you did.
Most importantly, know that you are going to be perfectly fine. You are a capable, intelligent human being, and you’ve got this under control.
This is the final stretch before break. Think about how much you want to get there, put your head down and barrel through. It’ll be over before you know it.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Hannah Morrison at Hamo7004@colorado.edu.