How to make it through finals with your sanity

By Olivia French, Staff Writer

December 5, 2012

Finals are coming! Finals are coming! The turkey-induced joy of Thanksgiving break has been replaced with a consuming and relentless fear of papers, tests and all things academic as the semester comes to a close. Before you completely lose your mind, I have a few tips on how to survive finals week all while keeping your sanity in check.


Make a schedule. You will be able to accomplish a lot more if you map out everything that you have to do – chapters to study, papers to write, and projects to finish – and then break it all into manageable chunks. If you make a schedule with time or progress related goals and stick to it, you will be able to be less stressed and will accomplish more.

Find your perfect study spot. Maybe you do your best work in the silence of the Learning Commons, in front of the fire in the Bakery, in the bustling first floor of Smith, or in the comfort of your own dorm room. Do you do your best work in the early hours of the morning or late at night? Figure out where and when you’re most productive and use that place and time to get the bulk of your studying and paper writing done.

Make a study group. Getting together with people from your class will not only motivate you to study, it will also help you to learn the material by going over it orally. This may even provide some clarification from your peers about information you didn’t understand. Just make sure this doesn’t turn into a gossip session and you actually get some work done!

Ask your professors any questions you have now. Trust me, you do not want to be in the library at 3 a.m. the night before your final exam tearing your hair out because you have a question that you can’t Google. We all know you can’t email your professor the night before an assignment is due. The professor is supposed to think you’ve been working on the assignment all semester…right? Make sure you go over everything with plenty of time before the final, so that if you have questions, you have time to ask your professor in person or by email.

Prioritize. In two weeks, will you be glad that you goofed off before finals week, doing any and everything to avoid schoolwork? If the answer is yes, and you’re fine with less than stellar grades, go for it. If not, make sure you have your priorities in order.

On the same note, don’t make school your entire life. You’ll only stress yourself out. Take breaks, and make sure you make time to eat (healthily) and exercise. Do something fun for yourself at least once a day. Watch your favorite TV show, grab Starbucks with your friends, or enjoy one of the C.A.T. Exam Breaks!

Relax. Take a deep breath. Finals are stressful, but they don’t have to take over your entire life. You’ve been learning this stuff all semester; you know it. Work hard and you will be fine.

In just a few short weeks, the sweet freedom of Winter Break will be all yours. You’ll be able to go home, enjoy your mom’s cooking, and relax for a month free from classes, homework, papers and exams. But until then, work hard, try to keep your stress in check and do your best.