Finals week is a time of lost sleep, reliance on caffeine, and tests of mental and emotional endurance. Long papers, involved projects, and the alluring promise of winter break all create a whirlwind of demands on top of the finals themselves.
However, students should remember that health and self-care are the most important when the two are most difficult to pursue. By focusing on our sleep, time management, environment, and peers, we can better control this hectic time and help manage our stress.
Sleep is the great restorer. While caffeine and energy drinks may seem like reliable crutches, neither can substitute a good night’s rest. Countless studies show that we do our best work and perform at our peaks after we let our brains have a proper rest. This leads to the issue of knowing the importance of sleep, but still having a 15-page paper due the next day.
Time management is the bane of every college student and a source of innumerable rolling eyes. The idea always sounds great: you do everything on schedule and the A’s roll in; you are never lured away by a game or a good book; never overwhelmed by rapid-fire term papers; and never pulled away by an emergency. Most students are familiar with the good intentions of time management, but it almost never works out the way it is supposed to. It is essential to find the time management strategies that work best for yourself, but personally, I have seen that the best way to do this is through two key factors: environment and peers.
Our study and work environments are critical. Factors that make a good environment are different for everyone and figuring out where you do your best work is an excellent tool for students. For me, it’s the third floor of the library where it is quiet and secluded. I need solitude when I am doing work, but I also need a line to separate my work and living environments. I prefer the ability of going back to my room knowing I have everything completed and I can relax. Keeping work and leisure separated can be invaluable when working down a pile of assignments and achieving your best work. I also recommend finding a study partner who requires a similar working environment, as this can help in keeping you both focused and motived to keep working.
Some people, myself included, need solitude while others need someone with them to get work done effectively. Having a friend or classmate head to the library or to Hebrews with whom to study can make the process much less painful. While this can be distracting at times if that is the method that works best for you it can reduce the stressful nature of these final weeks.
ENC does its best to provide study help for students as well during the finals season. The Center for Academic Success puts on a regular Exam Cram that will be on Sunday, December 2 from 2:00 PM until 2:00 AM in Nease Library. Therapy dogs will also be in the library until 7:00 PM as a stress relief for students as well.