Tips for Getting Through Finals Week!

For those of you on the semester system, this post may be coming a bit late. But for those of us like me, who are on the quarter system (what's up, all my Northwestern and DePaul friends?), finals are just getting started!

This is a time of year that can be accompanied by a ton of stress. Unfortunately, I can't make the stress go away. That part might just be unavoidable. But what I can do is offer up some tips to make the process easier, since I'm now heading into my 14th college finals week (that's the joy of the quarter system!).

Commiserate with Friends

I ate 7/8 of this pizza and Chewie ate the remaining 1/8.
The best part about finals week is that everyone has to go through it! Well, maybe that's actually the worst part, since it's increasing the overall unhappiness in the world. However, that's ALSO the good news, because it means you have other people who are going through the same thing! So complain to each other! Yell about how stressed you are! Don't keep it in!

Once during finals week my sophomore year of college (that was 5 years ago now...blagh where has the time gone?!) my friend Maddie and I spent half of finals week talking about Pokemon and procrastinating by playing Nintendo DS. We also stayed up really late and got our work done together. Then we took a walk around the city at 1 in the morning and enjoyed the snow. (Don't do this part alone. Make sure you're following the "with friends" part of the advice.) Five years later, I barely remember what work I had to get done that week. But I do remember having a great time with one of my best friends!

Drink Lots of Coffee

This one is obvious, I know. But as a coffee addict, sometimes I actually look forward to having massive piles of work to get done, because it means I have an excuse to drink more coffee. Hmm. Maybe that is a sign I have a problem.

Regardless, let this be your excuse to drink all the coffee you want. Lattes! Peppermint mochas! Cold brews, for when the weather flips 90 degrees in one day in Chicago! (Warning: do monitor your caffeine intake though. If you never drink coffee, probably don't drink five in an hour. Just use your head.)

Let Yourself Have Unlimited Snacks

Finals week is also my excuse to let myself eat anything and everything I want. If you reframe finals week as "The One Week a Year (or Three Weeks a Year if You're on the Quarter System) When You Get Unlimited Food (and maybe have to study and write a few papers)" then it can become something you look forward to.

Last quarter during finals week, I ate an entire pizza by myself in one sitting. Okay, Chewie ate a little bit of it. But he was so cute, I couldn't deny him. Even though I tried to ask him, "Chewie, why do you deserve this pizza? Are YOU the one taking finals right now?" His eyes said yes. His mouth didn't say anything because he's a dog.

Remember: Being Nervous Means You're Mentally Prepared!

That's a piece of advice that has stuck with me for a decade! When I was going to take my driver's license test, I was feeling nervous that morning. My dad told me that being nervous meant I had mentally prepared myself; if I weren't nervous, then I wouldn't be thinking about it hard enough to put in any real effort. A few years ago, one of my debate students was really nervous for the tournament the next day. She was running around the classroom freaking out. So I told her that if she's nervous, that means she's mentally prepared. She won first place the next day!

So just remember that being nervous doesn't have to be a bad thing! It means you've put thought into what you're doing, and that it matters to you.

You got this!

Happy finals week!



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