Surviving finals week

Lexi Langendorf, Arts & Entertainment Editor

It’s almost that time of the year again where overwhelmed students swarm the library, cry over final projects and get more caffeine than sleep.

Finals week, being packed with exams, essays and final projects, is generally looked upon in a negative light.

Advance-Titan // Courtesy of April Lee

However, finals week doesn’t have to be a week of suffering if you don’t want it to be.

There are certainly ways to stay engaged in your studies and be successful on all of your finals without your blood pressure skyrocketing.

Have the right study strategy

One way to improve your studying is to work with friends or even change up your study space completely and instead study outside, at a cafe or in the library.

During the week, it’s also important to have a schedule that makes time for all of the school stuff you need to get done.

UWO sophomore and Advance-Titan Opinion Editor Owen Peterson recommends using a planner or checklist to ensure that everything gets done.

“When juggling multiple important exams in the span of a week, it is easy to get flustered, and staying organized by using a planner and setting aside time to study for certain classes makes it a lot more manageable,” he said. “Also, I would recommend writing by hand as much as possible while studying, as it helps you recall stuff much better when actually taking the exam.”

Thomas Antrim, a UWO junior and A-T writer, also recommends that students write out a schedule or list as well as learn to apply course material to daily life to make it easier to recall.

“Apply the material you’re learning in the class to things in your own life to make the curriculum relatable,” he said. “You will be able to grasp and retain the knowledge more if you are interested in it.”
Junior A-T writer Kylie Balk-Yaatenen said that she generally tries to look over her notes before she goes to sleep so she retains the material.

“I also read over them while I drink my coffee in the morning of the exam,” she said.

Maintain healthy habits

Outside of studying, it’s important to practice healthy habits both mentally and physically.

Senior A-T Editor in Chief Carter Uslabar said that his biggest finals week survival tip is proper sleep.

“Professors don’t award points based on hours-of-sleep foregone,” Uslabar said. “So, sleep now, study later. If you put off sleep, you’ll be wasting your time studying, won’t remember anything and will feel both physically and mentally like garbage. Even if you must sacrifice time spent studying for sleep, it’ll be a more productive use of your time.”

Sophomore A-T Managing Editor and Sports Editor Cory Sparks said that a healthy diet and frequent breaks are crucial for him during finals.

“Putting the right things into my body that will allow me to stay energized is something I always try to do, but I stress it even more during finals week,” he said. “During last minute studying, I always remember to take a break every half an hour or so. Breaking the work down into intervals makes it less daunting.”

Reward yourself

Senior A-T Copy Chief Heidi Docter said that she often uses small incentives to get her through stressful weeks.

“I have a hard time sitting down and actually doing my work, so I set small goals to accomplish throughout the day and give myself a reward if I complete a task,” she said. “For example, if I complete my research paper that’s weeks overdue by tonight, I’ll indulge in a bowl of Fruity Pebbles at 2 a.m. The last two weeks are arduous enough, and forcing myself to push through it without any breaks or positive reinforcement tends to wear on my mental wellbeing. Immediate positive reinforcement does wonders, no matter how small.”

Freshman A-T writer Katie Pulvermacher had college finals for the first time last semester and said she found it best to spend time in the library studying, and then reward herself after with a treat.

“This semester, I plan on studying in the library again and using a gift card my mom gave me for Insomnia Cookies,” she said. “Little rewards like that make finals bearable. The effort you put into studying is reflected in what you get out.”

Find what works for you

Most importantly, do what makes you feel the best, whether it’s getting a coffee, taking a power nap or hitting the gym.

Cassidy Kennedy, junior A-T writer, has a specific routine during finals week that helps her stay on track.

“I usually start studying a few days in advance to go over the material and then I start quizzing myself on it to make sure I feel comfortable with it,” she said. “I also keep pumping the coffee during finals week and I always like to chew a piece of gum while I take exams because it helps with my focus and memory since studies do show gum helps during exams.”

This finals week, remember to relax, do your best and try some of these tips to help all of your exams go smoothly.