Staying Afloat During Finals Season

Although it is several weeks away, finals week is creeping up on us. For many, finals can be a haze of anxiety, late nights (or all-nighters), and regret. For those who also experience the stress and anxiety that finals brings, here is a list of tips that I have picked up over my time at Whitman that have helped make this difficult time more bearable.

Planning Ahead

Even though there are several weeks until finals, it is always better to try to get things done ahead of time, so that you have a buffer once finals hits and you are absolutely swamped. For me, it is really helpful to compile a list of all the big final projects or exams for my classes. It is also really helpful to write down the days and times of all your finals so that you can map out your week ahead of time. Doing this gives me an idea what things I should really be doing ahead of time so that I am less stressed during finals and am really on top of things. While studying is definitely important, it is also really great to just sit down and plan out what exactly needs to be done in the following weeks, which really cuts down on stress later down the road.

Self Care

I cannot stress how important this is! When I am stressed out or on a time crunch, the first things to go often are the habits that keep me healthy and happy. Sleep is more important than getting a little bit more studying. You’ll perform so much better on any exam you have if you are well rested. Personally, I often don’t eat as much as I should when I am stressed. Make sure that you are eating regularly and healthily. Drink lots of water and don’t binge on caffeine. Exercise is another great way to work off some anxiety. If you don’t like working out at the gym, try going on a walk, maybe on a route that you haven’t been before.

Reach Out

I know that during finals I have a tendency to isolate myself. While it can be good to study on your own, you also shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to the resources available to you if you are feeling stressed or confused. Talk to your professors. Go to their office hours and ask them any questions you might have. If your professor offers review sessions for your class, come prepared with any questions that you might have about the exam or the course material. If you’re feeling stressed about a certain class, try to form a study group with other members of whatever class you’re struggling in. It’s a great feeling to work with someone who is also in your class, trying to complete the same tasks as you, and it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of, or to simply keep each other accountable to getting work done.

Keep Things in Perspective

Oftentimes, our anxiety can make any problems in our lives almost impossible to face. In the long run, keep in mind that if that if things don’t turn out quite like you may have wanted them to, it is not the end of the world. Your life will go on and you will have other opportunities to do well. Respect and be proud of the work that you have put into your academics, especially if you do so in the face of other difficulties present in your life. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to appreciate all that you have accomplished this semester.


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