Sleep-deprived. Caffeine-jolted. Stress-overdosed. Sounds a lot like finals. Nothing is more energy consuming and brain-cell destroying as finals season, which plagues the overworked minds and bodies of college students worldwide. The permanence of finals can be daunting and overwhelming to say the least, but that doesn’t mean we should sacrifice our health and wellbeing for the sake of a grade. A grade is all it is, when it comes down to it.
We hear it all the time, yes, but just because finals are supposed to be stressful by nature doesn’t mean we have to give in to that expectation. “Finals,” usually a collection of final papers, projects and exams taking place in an extremely condensed time period, are unique in their ability to completely desensitize college students throughout their duration. Instead of letting the pressure of these deadlines dominate us, why not dominate the deadlines?
It’s easier said than done, but I believe the answer truly lies in our mindsets. If we take the pressure off the severity of finals and treat them like regular assignments we receive over the semester, we can then tackle the beast in a calmer state, without breaking into fight-or-flight mode. It’s only one grade worth a certain percentage that usually, most likely won’t have a monumental impact on your class grade unless you either fail or ace it. Fast forward to the first day of winter break, and the vast amount of worry and stress spent on finals will seem irrelevant and pointless in the actual outcome of our success.
Not to mention that skipping meals and relying solely on junk food to sustain ourselves further worsens the situation. All too often I find myself ignoring the fact that I’m hungry because it takes too much time and effort to deal with — a Starbucks cappuccino and cookie is perfectly fine, thank you! The sad reality is that it’s not fine, and failing to eat properly only increases our ever-present exhaustion at a time when we need the fuel more than ever. So don’t pull a “me” and depend on coffee as your ultimate savior, as delightful and worthy of appreciation as coffee is.
Secondly, pulling all-nighters and forgetting about sleep can only get us so far. We reach a breaking point eventually that will prevent us from producing quality work and retaining information, no matter how long we spend studying and hounding at the task. Making sure we allow our bodies to rest and rejuvenate at night can go a long way in terms of productivity and reducing debilitating stress that hinders our performance.
As important as it is to sleep, it’s equally as important not to procrastinate — a refined talent of mine. Something inside me likes to convince my brain that it’s beneficial to avoid the colossal heap of work I have until the last possible minute, only to make my life more difficult and unbelievably stressful. I don’t know what it is about finals, but having so much due all at once almost repels me from wanting to delve in since I have no idea where to start. This finals season, I’m trying to organize myself in a way that I haven’t before, by actually mapping out my due dates on a calendar so I have a schedule and time frame visually displayed.
In the end, it comes as no surprise that we all manage to survive, with or without our GPAs intact. At last, we can put that dreadful time of finals behind us as we embark on our winter break festivities and hopefully forget the back-breaking pain we left behind. Until next year!