Don’t let finals occupy your life

Bradley Schnitzer

It’s that time of year again when stress levels are at an all-time high. All of the course material learned over the semester is culminating in exam week next week. While doing well in these last two weeks of the semester is important to you academic life, it is also important not to forget that you have a life outside of your grades.

First of all, the university has resources to help you manage the stress of finals and to help keep your life in balance. GVSU has many counseling resources in case you feel overwhelmed and need someone to talk to. Other activities that happen during exam week include chair massages and therapy dogs. In addition to these special exam cram events, the recreation center is always open to run, lift or bike off some steam. Yoga and meditation classes occur as well.

The above resources are useful in helping to reduce stress, but the stress will still be there. The best way to deal with stress is balancing your life. This can be done through time and stress management, as well as employing good study strategies.

Everybody has their own way of studying, but there are a few general guidelines to getting everything done while at the same time maintaining your health and sanity. I personally think that pulling all-nighters or studying all day is not the greatest way to study. In fact, it may be detrimental to your efforts. I take breaks every two hours and just relax for a few minutes to take my mind off schoolwork. Not only does my mind get a rest, but I remember the material better if I don’t try to jam it into my brain all at once.

Another thing I do is study in a quiet place during the evening. The library can serve as a nice, quiet place as long as there is a table available. People tend to retain more information when they sleep soon after learning new things. This also leaves the day open to other activities. If you study during the day, perhaps you can take short naps in between study sessions to help remember what they’re studying.

Don’t pull all-nighters. If you feel like you need to, there’s most likely a way to avoid it. Start studying early the week before final exams. Instead of cramming everything into a few stress-laden nights, use some of the strategies I laid out in this article and stay consistent. Plus, being well-rested in and of itself is a great way to reduce stress and perform better in class.

Block out chunks of time every day to study for exams, but don’t forget to schedule leisure time as well. Having a life outside of school during finals week actually makes this time of the year easier.

Put these strategies to good use and utilize the resources I mentioned earlier. Soon enough, you’ll notice how much easier everything becomes at such a busy time of the school year.