1. Reach out to friends
Finals is a shared experience. Many of your friends are also stressing and could use a break. Play some games with your friends, vent about how much work you have to do or even just check in on one another. If this semester has taught us anything, it’s that connecting with friends is a great way to stay resilient.
2. Plan your study schedule
Looking at all the things you need to study and the papers you need to write can be stressful. However, dividing these tasks into different days will make this much easier to handle. Try writing down each task you have to do and then deciding which day you will do them. For example, to study for my Shakespeare class, I review one play each day until the day of the exam. This prevents cramming and can make preparing for finals much easier.
3. Get some sleep
Many times college students will forgo sleep to spend more time studying. While this can create more time, being constantly tired will only make studying more difficult. It’s also important to practice self-care during this stressful time. Keeping your remaining sleep schedule intact is a great way to practice time management when preparing for finals.
4. Host a study group via Zoom
Studying with your classmates or creating a space where your friends can study together really helps keep you motivated. Setting aside this time to study with others makes it much harder to procrastinate. You and your fellow classmates can also benefit from going over review questions together and using each other’s knowledge.
5. Create a study playlist
Listening to music is a great way to get into the mood for studying. Whether or not you like high energy songs to keep yourself awake or lo-fi music to stay focused, creating a playlist now can stop you from spending your study time finding the right music. You can even borrow songs from pre-made playlists or listen to study live streams on YouTube.
6. Download study apps
If you are like me and find it hard to focus while studying, there are many apps that help create productive study habits. Forest is an app that allows you to grow virtual plants if you go a certain amount of time without using your phone. There are also study timers that set certain intervals for studying and taking a break. Download some of these apps now to see which ones work best for you and your habits.
7. Embrace the sweatpants
Finals are already stressful by itself, but adding COVID-19 makes this finals season much more challenging. With how much time we are spending at home or in our dorms, do not feel bad for staying in your pajamas. Allow yourself to get comfortable and save time by not dressing up. Put on your fuzzy socks, put your hair into a messy bun and rock the no-makeup look. No one is going to see it anyway.
8. Fuel your body
Look, I’m bad at this, too. During midterms and finals, I live off of coffee and Cook Out Cajun fries. But not eating well is another way to lose energy and feel unwell overall. There are many healthy foods you can snack on while studying to keep your stomach from distracting you. Something as simple as peanut butter crackers or even some trail mix will satisfy your cravings while filling in some gaps in your food pyramid.
I know that venting about stress may not be the most productive thing you could do, but you deserve to have your feelings acknowledged. We are in the middle of a pandemic, had a fast-tracked semester and are looking at another condensed couple of months in the spring. It’s okay to take some time to get things off of your chest. Whether you choose to write it down or talk to family members — pets included — get all your thoughts out so you can focus all your remaining energy on doing your best during exams.
10. Know you’ll be OK
College can really be stressful. Especially with this fast-tracked semester with no breaks, it is easy to feel like our grades are our entire life and define our worth. In the grand scheme of things, one bad final is not as big of a deal, especially in an already challenging semester. Take the time to recognize that no matter what happens with your finals, you are still valued and loved.