As our fall quarters and semesters are coming to an end, professors and students alike all across America are rushing to prepare for one of the most dreaded events traditionally performed on college campuses: finals.
Stress levels are bound to be higher than normal, and it may feel like everything is piling up all at once. Whether you are in the middle of “dead week” at your school, or you are finding yourself in those final stages of cramming ten weeks worth of lecture material into your brain the night before, it is important to remember to stay healthy. In order to do the best you can on your tests and essays, you must resist pulling all-nighters, eating junk food, and overworking yourself.
Take on these tips to ensure you stay healthy through your finals and beyond:
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Sleep When You Are Tired
Libraries on campus may be open 24 hours a day for students who want quiet spaces to study for finals, but that doesn’t mean you should be in there for all 24 hours, much less studying for that long. Studying for lengthy periods of time without taking breaks in between is not helpful to you, especially if you are tired. The more tired you are while reading, writing, or working out problems, the less likely you are to retain and remember important information.
You don’t want to be pulling all-nighters and tiring out your eyes before a final, because your mind might feel foggy and cause you to have trouble with questions and problems you otherwise might have understood. Schedule naps throughout your day if you tend to study late into the night, and try your best to maintain a stable sleeping schedule, which should include sleeping eight hours a night.
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Eat When You Are Hungry
These pieces of advice may sound overtly simple, but it is surprising how many college students take their health for granted and don’t care as much for their bodies or diets as they do their grades. Eating foods that are fresh, healthy, and high in protein is especially important during finals season.
Find the time in your study schedule to seek alternatives to the foods that you might eat on a daily basis (stay away from ramen, highly caffeinated drinks, sugary processed snacks and microwaveable lunches and dinners). Try out a new restaurant, or pop into a grocery store and buy fresh fruits, vegetables, pastas, whole grains, and drink plenty of water. You want to be the best you can be while studying for finals and
during the tests themselves, so make sure that what you eat will do you more good than harm.
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It’s OK to Watch Netflix
Taking an hour or two out of your day to watch a favorite television show, catch up on a series, or see a movie you haven’t had the time to see is a great thing to do to take your mind off of finals. It is easy to feel guilty about watching TV, Netflix, or Hulu instead of using such valuable time to study, but in many ways, doing so can be more beneficial to you. Taking breaks during study time is essential, and what better way to fill the time during those breaks than to watch your favorite show? Just don’t get too carried away or caught up watching that you forget about any work you still have to get done.
Explore Surrounding Cities and Events
Go outside! Fresh air and natural sunlight can be refreshing and revitalizing for students who have been in cluttered dorms and study rooms for much too long. Take the bus or train to nearby cities, seek out local events that might be of interest to you and go with a couple of friends or peers. Going to new places will help get your mind off of finals and focused on yourself and others.
Remember that nothing is more important than taking care of your health, and finals week is definitely not the time to stop taking care of yourself and ending any activities that bring comfort to you. In fact, this is the time to treat yourself with the utmost care and compassion - you will need it in order to deal with the stress that four to five different finals is likely cause.