by Ana Correa
As I wrap up my second to last finals week of my undergrad career, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve learned to not only master this crucial time of the semester, but how to embrace it. I remember when I was a freshman and I was trying to get through finals; I had a handful of exams and an interdisciplinary paper on top of it all. I would stay up as long as I could before unwillingly falling asleep, trying to cram a semester’s worth of information in a night or two. One night I even drank two energy drinks in a row, something that I definitely do not recommend. It’s actually sort of incredible the lengths college students will go to in order to try to pack all of that information in. Now I’d like to believe that age and wisdom— mostly trial and error, really— has helped me successfully conquer pretty much the most important week of the semester (most important because finals are usually a huge chunk of your class grade). So, I want to share that wisdom in hopes that it’ll help others.
First and foremost, get enough sleep! I can’t stress that enough. All of the information you’ll be cramming won’t stick for long if you’re running on just a few hours of sleep and coffee. Plus you will just be irritable and grouchy, and that’s no fun either. There’s nothing like waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the week, especially during finals. Second, stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause tiredness, headaches, dizziness, irritability, and even low blood pressure. It’ll only add to the stress and leave you feeling worse. Third, and perhaps most importantly, don’t wait until a day or two before your exams to start studying. Believe me, getting to finals week and only having to review the material instead of learn it will be one of the biggest feelings of relief you’ll ever feel. As for reviewing, start about a week in advance. Reviewing a little bit every day leading up to your final will help you retain the information way more easily.
Navigating the stormy waters that is finals is not easy, but with these tips in mind, life can be a little less hectic at the end of the semester. Good luck!
Ana Correa, whose home country is Brazil, is a senior majoring in Political Science at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.