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Dec 11 2016
by Meghan Field

11 Ways to Destress During Finals Week

By Meghan Field - Dec 11 2016
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Ah, the most dreaded time of the semester: finals week. We all go through the motions the entire 15 week semester and think we will be fine and then out of nowhere the week prior to finals week approaches and everyone seems to get a little bit crazy. While it is important to do well on your finals — because this exam dictates how well you will do in the class overall — it is okay to take some time for yourself before and during finals week.

1. Get Enough Sleep

While it may seem beneficial to pull all-nighters because it might seem like you are studying more, it is actually not beneficial to study right before you go to bed or when you are really tired. According to Dave Farrow, also known as “The Memory Guy,” (because he holds two Guinness World Records for Greatest Memory and has been recognized for memory programs he has created), if you study when you are tired your retention rate will be down, therefore studying at such late hours will not be beneficial in the least and you will be more tired the next day while you are trying to study.

2. Have Some "Me" Time

You do not need to study every spare minute you have studying. If you do, you will get to the point where you go crazy and just burn out. It is essential to take some time to just relax and do your favorite activity, whatever that may be. Studying *too* much has no correlation to getting better grades. It is all done in moderation and in chunks. Your brain will most certainly not retain the information if you have an information overload or are not fully understanding the material to begin with.

3. Go Exercise

Many campuses have multiple gyms on campus, so why not take an hour out of your day to go minimize stress by exercising? Doing your favorite type of exercising, whether that be taking a run, going to Zumba or taking a yoga class, you will be sure to put your mind at ease for a little bit while doing something you enjoy.

4. Eat Your Favorite Foods

Eating food is fantastic, right? Taking a break to eat some food is always a good idea. You need to refuel every-so-often, especially with healthy foods. But finals week can be viewed as an exception to the rule to indulge in some of your favorite treats because eating will most likely make you happy or even motivate you to study. I am guilty of doing the trick about eating one Hershey Kiss for every chapter I finish studying. It is not the healthiest option, but it motivates me.

5. Watch Netflix

I do not have Netflix personally, *GASP* but I have heard great things about it. I definitely would be content rewarding myself with an episode of Criminal Minds every once in awhile to reward myself for a couple hours of studying. Or even a comedy to make me laugh. Because who laughs during finals week? There is too much stress to laugh.

6. Pet an Animal

If only were allowed to keep dogs or cats in our dorms — that would be amazing. Petting animals would make anyone happy, unless — you — know they are not a fan of animals. 

There was this one day where my university brought a bunch of llamas, kangaroos and alpacas. It was pretty awesome to take a break from studying for my Calc midterm and destress by going to pet and feed some cute animals. It was an amazing time. Anyways, I suggest going for a walk. There is bound to be someone that has their dog out for a walk so do not be afraid to ask to pet the dog. It will be a great decision, I promise.

7. Hang Out With Your Friends

Knowing that you are in the same boat as everyone else will definitely have an impact on the amount of stress that you have. If you are in the mindset that you are the only one with a lot of stress, that will consequently cause you to have more stress. So I suggest taking some time to hang out with your friends. Sure, talking about the amount of stress you have with them may seem like it will cause more stress, but, personally, when I hang out with my friends I realize we are all going to go through this together and get out alive.

8. Think About What You are Going to do Over Break

Finals are one week. That is five days — Monday-Friday. And you might not even have a final all five of those days. Lucky you! When you break it down, you only have to get through 24 hours, five times. You can do it! After you are done, it is going to be such a relief going home and seeing your family. Maybe you have a vacation planned. Maybe you are going to go see your friends you have not seen since the summer. Maybe you are going to go eat at your favorite little diner. Whatever the case may be, you will have things to look forward to over break and that is certainly a reason to keep going and try your best on finals because once they are done, you have a couple of weeks to reward yourself without a worry in the world.

9. Read Encouraging Quotes

If you are feeling down or feeling like a failure because you can not remember all of the material from the semester, find some quotes to cheer you up. Taking a minute to read some inspiring quotes will most certainly boost your mood and make you really put things into perspective, such as you are here right now for a reason and because of that you are going to rock your finals!

10. Arrive at Your Exam Early Enough and Know Your Exam Location

If you go to a large university like me, more often than not your finals are in a different location than your exams usually are. Luckily, I know where all the buildings are but I know some of my friends have their exams in buildings that they do not know where they are located, so they have to take extra time to look up on a map where they are. By doing that prior to exam day, stress can be alleviated if you know where you are going.

11. Stay Positive After Your Exam

I can not tell you how many times I have witnessed students walk out of exams and be a little teary eyed or just flat out frustrated. That is not the attitude you want to have, as it will cause you to be more stressed even after you took the final you were stressed about. That is not good.

Overall, it is normal to be stressed, but do not let it get to the point where stress consumes you. That will do nothing but affect your study habits and possibly make you perform more poorly on the final. I wish you all the best of luck!

Lead Image Credit: Pixabay

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Meghan Field - Pennsylvania State University

Meghan is a sophomore at Penn State - University Park. She's from Hershey, PA. She is going to major in Biobehavioral Health and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. She has been dancing her whole life and has always had an interest in writing and anything science related. Instagram is @meghanfield.

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