It is two weeks before my finals (i.e the calm before the storm) and I am using this rare moment of peace to talk (/write??) to you about them a bit.
If you have already finished all of your tests: CONGRATS !!!!!! It’s practically summer for you now…woah.
If you haven’t taken finals, are dreading them, and are currently procrasti-blogging (blogging/surfing the internet/scrolling through the same IG posts over and over in an attempt to avoid starting/finishing your work when you should be studying, etc.): then we are in the same boat. Good luck bud, you’ll do great.
If you’re one of the latter- the ones who procrasti-blog/sleep/netflix, etc., desperately make multiple to-do lists which never seem to get all done, are running on a mixture of inadequate sleep and more than adequate amount of caffeine, have minor freak-outs and meltdowns late at night when you realize the amount of work that has yet to get done, and half of you just wants to drop everything, quit school, join a group of nomads and spend all day doing anything but that English essay…. then my main piece of advice is please, try not to stress out too much. I know, I know. Easier said than done. The key is to approach each deadline or assignment one at a time- never focus on the enormity of all the work you need to get done. Baby steps, k?
Below I’ve compiled a collection of strategies from a variety of friends, teachers, fellow bloggers and students for people like me who aren’t the most organized and completely lose all chill when it comes to test taking and stress. I hope you all find this helpful in some way, and this lil’ guide helps you get through finals (or any school night for that matter) in one piece, without loosing too much of yourself, and your sleep. Just think: summer is rapidly approaching- we can get through this guys.
XO, Willa (the girl)
1.) Treat ‘yo self:
– Dance Breaks:
Mini dance parties are an effective, optimal way to shake off your stress. Frequent dance breaks prevent you from getting all stiff and becoming a grump behind the glare of your computer screen. Take a quick break to unleash your inner Bey… if only for a moment.
Find music that works for you. I have approx. 130942712 playlists on my Spotify for every occasion- I have more than my fair share of dramatic, inspirational playlists for the tough times (que: Destiny’s Child’s “ Survivor”) and pump-up ones (think: Eminem).
– Delicious treats:
Snacks are a necessity. I love the healthy classics- frozen grapes, sliced apples and PB, and carrots (these are great because they take a bit longer to chow through, and fill you up). Eating brain food like nuts and blueberries are also great while studying, but those aren’t always exactly attainable– no one can be that healthy 100% of the time at 2am whilst cramming for an exam. During those moments, I whip out the big guns: i.e popcorn or Tostitos hint of lime chips.
– Be nice…both to yourself, and other people.
Allow yourself some you-time (see: this entire section), and take care of yourself. You know what your body needs- so give it enough sleep, exercise, etc. A recent study shows that students who sacrifice sleep for additional study time are more likely to have more trouble with test taking and understanding new material. Sound’s like maybe those long nights cramming weren’t worth the sleep deprivation (crazy concept, I know). Also- don’t forget about your skincare regimen- I find it soothing to wash my face and moisturize at night, and it’s also super important to keep up the whole “taking care of your skin” thing, despite a huge workload.
About being nice to others: I tend to sometimes get a little overly sensitive and snappy without a ton of sleep and when I am in high-stress situations (coughcough finals week) and sometimes don’t realize how I sound to other people. Try to make an active effort to reign in your inner demon spawn, and be kind to everyone.
– Find a healthy balance.
Simple: don’t turn into a studying machine/zombie, while also avoid going on social ventures every day before finals.
– Let it out, hun.
Find an outlet. Includes (but not limited to): ranting to a friend about your current crises, journaling, painting, writing, running, crying to your mom, crying to your friend, crying to the sound of a male indie singer with a scratchy and unusually delicate voice (the takeaway: CRYING IS HEALTHY), or angrily belting out power ballads.
– Exercise=happy endorphins
Promise. I love to run and do yoga, some people prefer spinning, biking, or kickboxing.
2.) Know your learning style
Everyone learns and internalizes information differently. Figure yourself out, if you haven’t already. I love to have discussions (which usually entails me bribing my younger 9 year old sister to listen to me rant about the current issues in the Congo, the essential idea of “A Tale of Two Cities”, the ways in finding the surface areas of different 3D figures, etc.) in order to test myself on my knowledge of a subject and organize my thoughts. Visual learners usually like to make flashcards, diagrams/charts, and study guides… I am a huge advocate for making study guides- they aren’t just for reference- the time you spend writing them (by hand is best!) is studying in itself.
3.) Chill with the Social Media, bud.
I usually have this “because I finished one math problem I deserve a quick break” mentality- it’s horrific. It got so extreme for me this week that I decided to delete all of my apps (g’bye IG, snapchat, tumblr, Facebook). I did it not only because I noticed myself starting to really procrastinate all. the. time., but I also felt that I needed some time to cut the tether that held me to my phone, and kept me from being present/in the moment all the time- I’m sure some of you have experienced this too (potential blog post to come more on the subject?) I actually found myself feeling a lot less stressed and anxious in the process!! Anyway, you don’t have to go all out like I did. It is as simple turning off your phone while doing homework and getting rid of all other distractions.
4.) A little bit every day (the procrastinator’s worst nightmare)
Manage your time. This means not studying for your huge math test only the night before. I will usually be propelled to start studying earlier if the dreaded project/assessment is terrifying enough, and will study out of a frantic, nervous fear which I can only deal with through actually getting the work done and preparing. It is also sometimes hard to start studying earlier when you have a lot of other things on your plate during a given night before a test/quiz- even when you plan to do a little bit of studying along with your normal homework, before you know it, it is 12am and you still haven’t gotten towards finishing everything. #beenthere. The key is to do just a little bit of work in preparation for your Big Thing every night- not only will you help retain the info better that way, but you also won’t be half as stressed out the night before.