Here's how to maintain your well-being for the dreaded week of academic misery.
1. Don't cram
As tempting as it may be to stay up all night and haphazardly try to memorize every detail about your studies, this can actually do more harm than good. Cramming only makes students more stressed out, which lowers the brain's ability to retain information. Make a study plan instead and stick to it.
2. Enjoy the silence
Whether it's investing in noise-canceling headphones or camping out in a library or hotel (hello, room service!), getting somewhere quiet and free of distractions will keep you dialed into what needs to get done.
3. Take breaks
Don't spend hours upon hours studying without breaks. Take pauses throughout the day to watch a TV show, cook a meal, or do something crafty that will take your mind off the books to prevent burning out.
Get those eight hours in. Sleep deprivation will murder your chances of doing well on an exam.
5. Have your exam schedules written down and on a digital calendar
Having a day planner, as well as reminders on your smartphone, helps to prevent forgetting what time—and what academic building—your exam is being held. Time management is mission-critical during this week and knowing when your finals are scheduled can help you plan ahead for commuting and meal times. Pro tip: put the academic building's physical address in your phone's GPS to see how far of a walk (or, in some cases, run) it is from one end of campus to the other.
Exercising not only keeps you healthy, but it also helps with boosting energy and lowers brain fog. Whether it's before, during, or after your study sessions, exercising will keep you going during this particularly frustrating stretch of time.
7. Go radio silent on social media
Whether it's deleting the apps or fully deactivating your accounts, for the time being, ridding yourself of the timesuck that is social media will help your focus immensely. Do you really think looking at memes or the vacation photos of some self-proclaimed "influencer" is going to help you at all during finals?
8. Eat well
It's beyond tempting to order in, get takeout, or have pizza delivered instead of eating a homecooked meal, especially since time isn't on your side for quality meal prep. Healthy eating doesn't have to be a chore, but fill up on protein, veggies, and healthy fats as well as drink lots of water to keep your body running as best it can.
9. Create an optimal study space
Wherever you choose to hit the books, make sure it's well-supplied with pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, good lighting, and maybe even a whiteboard. If zen is your thing, soothing background music, incense, or an essential oil diffuser housing invigorating scents can get you in the mood for focus.
10. Remember that finals week isn't forever!
Finals week is not fun. At all. It can be daunting and have your anxiety throwing you for a loop but like most difficult times, it won't last forever. Once you turn in your last exam and you're treating yourself to a well-deserved glass of wine, spa treatment, or ski trip, you'll wonder why you worried so much.