It’s the season finale we’ve all been waiting for.
FINALS: It’s time.
For the students of New West Charter, Monday June 1st, not only marks the beginning of a new month, but also the beginning of last week of school, and therefore, FINALS. The name itself triggers a feeling of impending doom.
If only we could transport ourselves into some cliché high school movie (or High School Musical: did they even have work in that place?) and finish our studying in less than 5 minutes with some pop song or 80’s rock ballad playing in the background. And then all magically do amazing. But alas, the reality is we actually have to open our books and try to remember something we learned in January (as in FIVE months ago, January). Although finals cannot be forgone (even though the stress they cause should be the sole reason they should), it is still possible to navigate these dark, frustrating, and desperate waters with some sense of sanity and faculty.
While many students may be tempted to not sleep, whether this is done in the pursuit of education or Netflix, this is not a good plan. Neither is over stressing nor filling yourself with brain stimulants (aka caffeine).
TO DO OR NOT TO DO: A Personal Health Study Guide for Finals
- DO: Eat Healthy
It may be tempting, but try not to make a beeline for those junk foods. Too much sugar can seem like a good idea at first, but the crash usually outweighs the high. During this time, it’s a good idea to target healthier foods, especially those with vitamin B and omega-3 fats. Avocados, fatty fish, nuts, and milk are all good options. Fruits and veggies are always good options; aim for those leafy greens, like kale or spinach. If you want something sweet, skip the ice cream and grab some yogurt or a piece of dark chocolate; these foods can help relieve some stress from the day. And remember to stay hydrated. Water is always the best option, but a good decaf tea can help you unwind and relax while a caffeinated one can help you wake up in the morning. Speaking of mornings, try to eat some breakfast. This meal will set your energy for the day and prepare you for the challenges ahead, so try not to skip it.
- DON’T: Over-caffeinate
While some caffeine can increase energy and focus, too much can lead to jittery feelings, as well as anxiety and nervousness. Some coffee might help you actually get out of bed but downing cup after cup could negatively affect your performance on the test. Caffeine also affects your sleep, which you definitely need during finals.
- DO: Unplug
Turn off your technology. This means get off your phone and your computer, turn off the tv, maybe even turn off the lights. While your tech can help you study, it’s good to take a break from the screens. They can cause a strain on your eyes that can cause headaches and the light emitted from the screen can mess with your sleep because it suppresses the production of melatonin, a substance involved with our circadian rhythms. There have also been studies that have shown that being on the internet and social media too much can heighten anxiety levels.
- DON’T: Be Disorganized
Make a schedule or to-do list. Learn what needs to be prioritized during this week of exams. Also, breaking work up can make it a bit more manageable. Be more like Leslie and color code some binders.
- DO: Productive Procrastination
If you must focus your attentions elsewhere and procrastinate, try to busy yourself with beneficial work. Clean your room or computer or do some research on a topic that interests you, don’t just waste your time looking at cat videos on the interweb. For example, I am procrastinating by writing this article.
(Side note: be less like Leslie here. All night work is not the best bet.)
- DON’T: Psych Yourself Out
Don’t fail the test before you’ve even taken it. Having a good mindset can help offset some of the stress that many experience. It’s no good to worry about all the work you have to do in the middle of any test. Focus your energy on the task at hand and envision the good outcome and well-deserved vacation. Just breathe.
- DO: SLEEP
I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times before, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. Sleep is when your brain can rest and have time to absorb the things you’ve learned. What good is staying up all night studying if you can’t use the information on the test? Furthermore, the rest can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety.
Finals aren’t the greatest things ever. They are stressful and sometimes overwhelming, but hopefully these tips can help you out.
Just remember, YOU GOT THIS.