Finals Survival Guide: Mental Health

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Written by Hallie Hadi

As the semester draws to a close and final exams loom more close, it’s too easy to get caught up in the strain and stress of wanting to perform well on our tests that we forget to look after ourselves. I’ve seen that this is a popular topic among my peers, and it’s entirely reasonable. We study and prepare for weeks to excel in finals. We aim for big things and wish to fulfill our aspirations of finishing thesemester with high scores. It’s easy to lose sight of crucial aspects like getting enough sleep, communicating with friends and family, and prioritizing our mental health when we have such big goals. It is still essential that we continue to look after ourselves. Taking time for oneself in school is, of course, easier said than done. You could believe this article is overly optimistic or has a fairy tale sense of time. However, I’ll give you some pointers on how to take care of yourself during finals.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed while preparing for exams or to try to tackle everything at once. One suggestion I would make is to make a study plan for yourself to break up topics for your courses and space out when you review them. It would help if you also chose your cutoff times at the same time. Perhaps you won’t check anything after 10 p.m. on weeknights, or you’ll set a date for when you’ll finishreviewing for a particular class. It would help if you chose whichever strategy works best for you. You may get sensory overload if you attempt to comprehend all the information without proper, spaced repetition. Exam preparation will feel less stressful if you space things out and know when to stop reviewing.

This is, without a doubt, the most valuable tip. We all reach a point where we believe we can’t stop going over study guides and assignments until we’ve got everything engraved in our brains. However, if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember the required material to do well on your exams. Suffering brings no benefit. Take that time if you feel like you need a short nap or think things would make more sense after a good night’s sleep.

So, while preparing for your finals, keep in mind that you are not Albert Einstein. You’ll inevitably put up your best effort in studying for these exams. Exams are merely a snapshot of your knowledge on a single day, with a limited number of questions. It isn’t the be-all and end-all of your academic skill, nor is it an accurate indicator of your full potential. Once the test is no longer in your hands, release it. There’s nothing you can do about it after it’s finished.

When it’s all said and done, you’ve put in a lot of effort this semester. You’ve put in the late hours, early mornings, when you’d rather be binge-watching a Netflix, scrolling on Tiktok, or hanging out with family and friends. All of your hard work will be rewarded, and after you finish the exam and semester, remember to be kind to yourself. Grab that tasty treat, catch up on that show you’re missing episodes of, pick up that pastime you had to give up because school got too hectic, and hang out with family and friends. Make time for the things that bring you joy. You are entitled to live life to the fullest and enjoy life outside of school.

As I said before, all of this is easier said than done while you’re working hard. On the other hand, you have the right to put yourself first and enjoy life outside of school. You’re doing an amazing job. Don’t give up on your dreams. Continue to challenge yourself, but always be kind to yourself.