It is everyone’s favorite time of year again! Just kidding, it’s actually finals. If finals were a holiday song, it would go something like this: On the last day of classes my professors gave to me … five presentations, four cited essays, three group projects, two extra meetings, and one slowly dropping GPA. So many responsibilities can hit fast, so whether its your senior year and your last set of finals ever, or its your very first finals week in college, we can probably all agree that finals is a stressful time for everyone. We all handle stress in our own ways, and staying positive can be difficult when we are all so ready to be done with school. So, here are some tips from the Quaker Campus to ease your finals stress and get you to the end of the semester, more or less unscathed, minus one or two breakdowns.
Be a Gilmore Girl: Okay, so do not overdo it, but drinking coffee or caffeinated tea will definitely help you to stay up for that essay you waited until the last minute to write. While caffeinated drinks do not actually dehydrate your body (mayoclinic.com), water is your best bet to stay hydrated but coffee will get you that A! Not only is there a brand new café called Bark Coffee in Uptown, but there is a Starbucks, Lift Coffee, a Coffee Bean, and — my personal favorite — Dunkin Donuts, all within a short driving distance in Whittier. No car? No problem. Drink a cup in the CI after dinner for free, or stop by the Spot until 11p.m. for that Starbucks grind before hitting the library. See you there!
Use the Library: Now that we are here, pick a spot. We all hear about the “library fakes” using the library during finals and not during the rest of the year … but, if this is you, you should not feel bad for using your resources (tuition money, hello!) and wanting to concentrate on your finals. This tip is applicable to the rest of the year as well. Wardman Library is a perfect place for doing homework with friends in a study room, studying for that big 10 a.m. Bio Test on the quiet floor, or meeting with your group in an accessible place for all. Once again, the library on campus will be providing snacks, coffee, hot chocolate, games, and coloring books for finals until they close at 3 a.m.. Shoutout to the Associated Students of Whittier College Senate for funding this magic for us all.
Get Comfy or Get Moving: Sometimes, finding that perfect study space is the key to concentration during finals. You plug in your laptop, put in your headphones, and start to type while overlooking the campus from the library. But, whoops! An hour went by and all you have done is watch videos of dogs falling down the stairs and doodle your crush’s name into your notes. Well, it turns out, that’s your cue to get moving. According to an article in The New York Times called “Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits,” when we alternate our study views, we increase our retention rate. So, the next time you get the giggles, move to the Science and Learning Center, the Spot, or the art building and get done studying sooner.
Form a Study Group or Peer Edit: We have all had that day (or semester) where we happened to space out for a short hour and a half or accidently took a 45-minute nap and ended up missing just one or two key points of class. Chances are, somebody else might be able to help you catch up, and potentially, you could do the same for your peers. Montclair.edu suggests that having other people around can help keep you on track, allow you to gain new and potentially eye-opening perspectives on your work, and can even teach you some new study techniques.
Schedule Yourself: I will be the last person to tell you that you should be planning every detail of your life. But, during finals, I promise: your planner is your friend. If you catch yourself writing a list on your hand, (me too) then stop yourself and make that list in your planner, in your notebook, on that stack of sticky notes you always stick all over your laptop. Put it somewhere you will be able to access it, and once you accomplish the smallest thing, check it off! This method will help you to make sure you get everything done and have enough time to do it all in. We can all go back to frolicking schedule-free soon enough, my friends.
Food is Fuel: Say it with me: I will not eat because I am bored. Personally, I need that kind of discipline in my life. We all know that eating because you are bored is not healthy for you, especially because you usually end up binging junk food (guilty). However, eating food in general is necessary in order to function properly in daily life, and this doesn’t stop during finals. Bebrainfit.com gives a list of helpful brain foods to eat such as avocado, dark chocolate, and moderate amounts of caffeine and wine (amen). Your body needs protein, carbs, and healthy fats at every big meal in order to function best, as these will stabilize your blood sugar, keep you alert, and deliver serotonin to your brain to keep you calm. If you don’t have time to sit with a bowl of yogurt and granola or to create an egg and avocado toast masterpiece, at least allow your body the gift of something to-go, such as a peanut butter apple or a protein shake with toppings. Late-Night Breakfast anyone? (12/11 9-11 p.m.). Keep on eating, Poets, but just do it like the smart cookie you are.
Library Naps: An article published by health.harvard.edu titled “Sleep Helps Learning, Memory” sums it up for anyone anywhere in college. Harvard studies suggested that varying nap lengths benefit the brain in different ways, such as having a better memory and increasing overall test performance. Web.stanford.edu reminds us that while we all need varying amounts of sleep from person to person, the average hours per night should be around 8, give or take an hour. The occassional all-nighter will not kill you, but if it becomes a habit, bigger problems could arise. So, if you find yourself feeling drowsy in that study room? Go find the couches on the third floor of the library for 45 minutes and take a snooze. And then send this information to your mom or dad.
Pull A Ross and Rachel and… Take. A. Break! (or were they?): There is no way to sit at a desk doing work for hours on end without going just a little bit crazy. Yes, there is such thing as learning too much at once, according to onlineschools.org. It becomes harder for your memory to retain that much information at once after an extended period of time. It’s important to remember that you need to take your mind away from school for a bit in order to avoid breakdown number three. Take a stroll around campus, visit your friends in their dorm, or, better yet, go grab a healthy midnight snack! Use this break time exercise your body, relax your brain, and maybe take that nap on the third floor.
Have a Dance Party: Aside from just taking a break by walking around campus, your body needs exercise to concentrate on work. Time.com’s article “7 Surprising Benefits of Exercise” explains that physical exercise increases the bloodflow to your brain, which helps it function and helps you focus on your work later. Aside from concentrating better, physical activity relieves symptoms of depression and will make you feel happier — something we all need at the end of the semester.
First Date Jitters: Studying for finals can be approached like going on a first date. It’s important that you go slow, ask appropriate questions, and stay calm! A first date can be pretty scary, and you might fail, but what if you plan out what you are going to do and when, make sure you are alert and concentrated, talk to your friends about your concerns, and remember to breathe? Then, just maybe, you will not fail. Instead, you will come out looking like a big phat baller who just aced their finals *mic drop.*
*If you are ever feeling overwhelmed around this time of year, remember to engage our campus resources, such as the Counseling Center for emotional support, and Intramural Sports for a physical outlet.