What Not To Do During Finals

It’s finals season, which means that students are generally feeling a lot more stressed, overwhelmed and tired than usual during this last push of the semester. While finals time is a stressful part of the semester, I have discovered that there are ways I am able to limit the amount of stress that I am under (even if it is just a teeny tiny bit) so that finals don’t feel like some huge dark cloud looming over my head. With this being my third year of college finals, here’s what I’ve learned (or am trying to learn at least) NOT to do during finals.

Do not sacrifice your sleep. 

Crunch time would be an understatement when describing the amount of work I always end up needing to do and focus on during finals. I often times feel like there’s never a moment of rest or relaxation and that every moment of the day should be spent writing a paper, studying for an exam, doing something for work, or writing another paper. Not mention that somehow I have to find the time to clean my apartment and pack for winter break at the same time. A girl is tired. While this is still a lesson that I am trying to learn and commit to, I know that all of those tasks I just listed will go by much smoother, quicker and be of higher quality if I make getting enough sleep a priority.

Now, I’m not perfect at doing this. At all. But it’s important that I continuously remind myself that going to bed at a decent time will not harm my grades. Even more importantly, getting enough sleep enables me to not burn out as easily and focus more on the tasks that do need to get done. Don’t think of prioritizing sleep as a waste of time, think of it as a tool that aids you in managing your time better. Planning to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night is an excellent way to plan your study and work hours around the rest of your schedule to make sure that you are using all of your time in the wisest and healthiest ways possible.

Do not “drink water for dinner.”

There just never seems to be enough time during finals! With all of the studying and work that needs to be done during finals, it is unfortunately easy to get caught up studying for hours without food or even convincing yourself that not eating is “worth it” because of the better grade you’ll earn. The reality is that not eating only decreases your ability to focus while studying. Your body needs food to function and risking your health for finals is not worth the damage you could cause to your body. So eat up!

Don’t neglect other things that make you happy.

Hard work and a dedication to your studies is important during finals, but so is your happiness. A happy and healthy mind is essential to preventing burnout from studying. Don’t deprive yourself of going for a run, taking a trip to the mall, reading a book, or watching your newest TV show craze during finals time. Giving yourself a break every day is a way to ensure that you’ll be able to come back to your work with a refreshed mind and keep your stress levels as low as possible.

Don’t think that your final grades are the end of the world.

So you get your final grades back and they’re not what you hoped and worked for. While disappointing, remember that this happens to everyone. You’re not some rare college student who didn’t manage to get straight A’s. All that we can really ask of ourselves is to try our best in our classes, and our best will always look different in each class and each phase in our lives. It’s important to not give unsatisfactory grades more attention than they deserve. If you can’t change your grade, allow yourself to accept it instead. You know that you did your best and that is what is really important. No one can ever be upset with you trying your best—including yourself.



Class of 2021
Hey y’all, I’m a History and Gender and Women Studies double major and a French minor from Chicago! I concentrate in all things Black and Black women studies and love long-distance running.

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