As a junior in college, I’ve experienced my fair share of the ever-so-dreaded finals weeks; however, I’ll never forget my first ever one freshmen year. I was absolutely terrified. I studied almost every moment I had with limited breaks and contact with the outside world. I read over my notes again and again up until just moments before my exams.
The result? I didn’t do nearly as well as I could have.
Why? I made my week a living nightmare, voluntarily.
While I can’t speak for other schools, Penn State does an awesome job of offering study breaks and stress relieving activities / freebies leading up to and during finals week. As a freshman, I didn’t partake in any of it. I felt guilty any and every second I wasn’t studying, which ultimately just resulted in me digging myself into a deeper hole.
The solution? Take breaks. Grab a coffee with a friend, watch a movie, go to the gym… literally anything. Locking yourself in your room all day will make you stir crazy and most likely more anxious about your exams, which is the last thing you want. Keeping your stress level to a minimum is the best way to ensure you don’t freak yourself out. After all, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, who else will?
Studying is obviously very important – don’t get me wrong – but so is balancing your time. Sitting down and reading all of your notes from start to finish all day won’t help you retain anything. Finals week is about figuring out what study techniques work for you, what times of day you work the most efficiently, and what types of environments you study best in. Once you get that down, it gets easier as the semesters progress (even if your classes don’t).
Take a deep breath and relax. It’ll all be over soon, I promise.