Sunday, May 6, 2012

How to survive finals

At this point in my college career I've been through 11 finals weeks.  Yikes bikes!!!  Still, every time this week comes along I freak out  tend to get a little nervous.  I've had my fair share of late nights and cry sessions.  I think my freshman year was the worst.  I ended up with a full blown migraine in the middle of the week for a day straight.  Another time I had to calm my nerves by shoe shopping.  Then there's the inevitable final on my birthday in the winter semester.  That's always a good time.

As many horror stories as I have, I'd like to think that after so many times taking finals I've learned a few things. So without further ado, here are my tips and tricks for surviving this week.

1.  Get some sleep.  I can't say this enough.  Sure you may have to burn the candle a little more on both ends to cram everything in, but don't pull an all nighter.  It's not worth it.  I am better off getting a few hours of sleep and waking up and studying a little more before the test in the morning.  Studies show that you retain the most information if you get some rem zzzzzs after you've studied.   Plus, if you stay up all night you'll be so tired and groggy during the actual final you won't be able to think clearly.

2.  Get up and move around.  Take short breaks and go walk or run around.  Better yet, go get a quick workout or run in.  Your mind needs a little break every now and again.  When you get done you'll be more focused too!

3.  Caffeine is sort of your friend.  Coffee and tea are good to help you stay awake and focused, but don't rely too heavily on them so you're jittery and crazy feeling.  Also, you don't want to crash after the coffee buzz wears off, or not be able to sleep if you are pounding the energy drinks late at night (See tip #1).

4.  Eat healthy snacks.  Your body will probably crave carb filled, salty and sweet snacks but you'll feel better when you're studying if you eat better things.  Try to get in some fresh vegetables, fruits, protein, whole grains... yadda yadda.  In all seriousness though, it's kind of like fueling up for a big race or game, you'll perform better when you're not full of junk.

Some of my healthy snack favorites are hummus and dippers (carrots, peppers, pita chips, pretzels)
Dark chocolate (for antioxidants of course :) )
5.  Make lists, cross things off.  There is nothing better than the satisfaction of physically crossing something off that to-do list.  

6.  Set aside time to not study.  If you manage your time well enough, you should be able to set aside a little time for some "you time".  Don't feel bad for taking it either.  Shoe shopping is wonderful "you time" fyi!

7.  Remember that it will be over in a week, then life will get so much better.  You can do it!  Just relax and take some deep breaths.

To all of you taking finals, good luck!  To all of you that are no longer taking finals, you lucky ducks!  I'd love to hear your finals experiences and tips.  Leave me some comment lovin'!

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What's Annie Making?: How to survive finals

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How to survive finals