For all my fellow students out there, I feel ya. I’m currently getting my Masters in Management down at Duke so I’m swamped with finals too. I have three 3-hour exams three days in a row starting tomorrow, I’m leading a workout test group of 28 people, and keeping up with my own health, so naturally I’m choosing to write a blog post about it rather than actually study. Procrastination or nah?
In reality, finding ways to free my mind for a bit is what has helped me be pretty successful throughout my school years. I wanted to share a few of my best tips when it comes to making it through finals/hell week 🙂
No matter how busy I am, how many finals I have coming up, or how much studying I think I need to get done, I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS keep my workouts in my daily routine. There’s a huge misconception that working out is just a waste of your time when you need to study, but it actually makes you much better off! On a basic level, it gives your mind a break. But working out also increases your energy levels, makes you more alert, gets your blood pumping and is scientifically proven to be a stress reliever. So the way I look at it is you can’t really afford not to get your butt to the gym.
2) Plan Out Your Day
I’m pretty sure I’ve used an agenda since the first day of kindergarten and I’m not stopping any time soon. Every single day I break down all my assignments, study time, projects, and whatever else I have going on into small, doable tasks. For example, instead of writing down “study for Strategy final” I’ll write out every single lecture I need to read, every practice set I need to finish, and every recording I need to watch. That way when I finish one small thing, I check it off and feel like I’m actually getting somewhere. This helps me stay motivated, on track, and feel like I’m not totally going to fail.
3) Meal Prep
Not the kind where you get stuck in the kitchen for like 7 hours on a Sunday, but the one where you just make double portions of everything you’re already going to cook. Like this morning for example, I made protein pancakes and instead of making enough for just my breakfast, I made the whole bag so that I would have a quick and easy breakfast for every day this week. That’s going to save me a lot of time when I’m literally rushing around everywhere and also ensures that I get a good healthy meal in to start off my day! Other foods I normally do this with are chicken, stir fry veggies, and pasta.
4) Find A “Mindless” Hobby
On top of working out, I also make sure that I take mindless breaks to help refocus myself for when I get back at it. I love coloring in those adult coloring book things (super addicting, you should try it), reading, calling friends/family, or even watching a show real quick. It may sound counterintuitive that I’m telling you to do your typical “procrastination” activities, but after studying for like 7-8 hours straight your brain seriously needs a break. It’s like a HIIT workout. Go hard for a short amount of time, then take a break. And repeat that over and over. If it’s the most effective kind of workout you could do then why not apply it to studying?
In the end, the most important thing you should do is just have a positive mindset. Tell yourself you can do it. You’ve worked hard all semester learning this material and really all finals are is a big compilation of things you’ve already been taught and tested on. Make it easier on yourself by telling yourself that all the information you need is already all in your brain, you just have to dig it up and remove the stress and you’re golden:) If that doesn’t help, then just tell yourself that Christmas is in less than two weeks and you can finally be home with friends and family and maybe that’ll be a bigger motivator for you. You are getting a wonderful education no matter where you are, and for that you should be thankful too! All this hard work will pay off very soon and you are so incredible for getting to where you are in the first place.
So with that, happy finals people!