Seven tips to get you the HECK through finals week (and beyond)
The countdown to the end of days is approaching rapidly. That is, this crazy semester is nearly over. What is it about the last two weeks that makes staying motivated so difficult? I’m not here to talk about that because I’m no philosophy major. What I am here to do is help you finish this semester and stay sane before, during and after finals week (the plague edition).
1. Set goals
It can be challenging to feel like you are making progress whilst floating through your day, completing mundane tasks like you are an extra in a movie about your own life. Set some simple goals for yourself. Write the first two pages of that paper! Finish that math assignment! Practice your presentation! This way, you can end every day knowing you did something other than binge watch “Never Have I Ever” on Netflix.
2. Make time for things you enjoy
Whether it is rewatching John Mulaney’s stand-up comedy specials, painting a renaissance portrait of your cat or shaping your bonsai tree into a leafy sculpture of your neighbor, Carl, find time in your day to do something you like. This way, you can avoid burning yourself out by the end of the week.
3. Relax your standards
Hey … it is okay if you take an L this semester. We have endured a wild ride, and the stress alone is hard to manage. Maybe you didn’t have time to study chapter seven or review the notes you took last week; maybe you didn’t take notes at all. Try to avoid setting up an impossible standard for yourself. Why set the bar so high if you know it is out of your reach? Did you get an A? Maybe not. Did you learn something? Yes, and in the end, that’s the end goal. You succeeded if you did that.
4. Make a to-do list
It feels so good to check actual boxes. When you have a list of things you need to get done, you can organize your day and feel accomplished when you go to sleep at night. Laundry? Check! Dishes? Check! Morning pep-talk in the mirror? Check! Reward yourself by keeping track of what you are doing. Challenge yourself to cross off everything on your list. Stay motivated! You got this!
5. Talk to friends or family
If you are the kind of person that needs a support system to feel happy, now is the time to reach out to friends and family. Simply put, feeling isolated is hard. But we have resources! FaceTime with your significant other, call your sister, challenge your old roommate to a gruesome game of Words With Friends (followed by a rematch, because you will not lose to “blazoner.” Try and regain some normalcy by connecting with loved ones, for your sake and theirs.
6. Do the basics
Everyone has a “tool belt.” These are basic, simple skills you can use every day to take care of yourself. Drink water. Sleep well. Exercise. These three things are crucial in ensuring you make it through this week, next week and every week after. If you are feeling extra stressed, go for a walk, do some stretches or meditate. Try to go to bed at a reasonable time, even if it is tempting to cram for your calculus final until four in the morning. Your body and mind are far more important than your grades.
7. Be proud of yourself
After the dust has settled, you will be standing. You just finished a semester of university in the middle of a pandemic. That is a pretty big accomplishment. You earned crossing the finish line, and you have also earned a break. Chill. Watch your favorite movie or buy that thing you have had your eye on (or both). You have every reason to feel good about yourself.
This semester will be a defining moment in our lives. The only thing we can do now is finish strong. Carl will be proud of your bonsai tree sculpture. And we will all be proud of you.