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Finals Week

How to Survive Finals Week in 4 Easy Steps

December 5, 2016

It’s the most terrible time of the year. While you’re ready to sing Christmas carols and deck the halls, there’s one thing still standing in your path to freedom: finals. They loom in the near distance, threatening to melt your brain and destroy any bit of hope your heart may still hold. You can see the damage that studying for finals has caused as you watch students walk across campus in dirty sweatpants, not having showered for the third day in a row, and very much resembling a zombie. Before you also turn into a mindless machine, try out some of these tips for soothing your soul and increasing your brainpower so you can get in some serious study sessions.

1. Sleep.

This one seems like a no brainer, but getting a good night’s sleep can not only help you stay more alert, but it can also help with memory retention. Sleeping can strengthen connections between brain cells and transfers information from one region of the brain to another. Studies show that students who pull all-nighters tend to have lower GPA’s, so while it may seem like a good idea to have that late night cram session, maybe you can cut your time short and catch some extra z’s.

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Pro Tip: Fall asleep faster by unplugging before bedtime. Electronics stimulate your brain, keeping you awake, and the artificial light from phone or laptop screens may lower melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.

2. Diet.

You’re young, you’re away from home at college, and you finally have the freedom to survive off only pizza for the first time in your life. That’s pretty sweet, I’m not judging. However, it may behoove you to switch to something a little more rich in vitamins and antioxidants, if only for a little while during finals. Be sure to load up on healthy items such as oats, fruit, and greens. It’s recommended to eat small meals relatively often throughout the day. Big meals use more of the oxygen that your brain needs to stay alert, just to digest your food.

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Pro Tip: Don’t forget to drink some H2O. Water hydrates the brain which helps with your concentration and eliminates toxins.

3. Study Games.

Think studying can't be fun? Guess again. Instead of studying on your own, get together with friends and create a jeopardy game out of your study questions. Complete it with snacks and enjoy your time laughing at humorous wrong answers and praising your friends when they get one right, all while reinforcing the information. Don't have a group of friends in that class? Get out your textbook or notes and add an incentive every so often to keep yourself motivated. Satisfy that sweet tooth by placing a gummy bear every three paragraphs, or watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series after each chapter. Just remember, only one episode. Leave the binging for break!

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Pro Tip: Check out https://www.jeopardy.rocks/ for a fast and easy set up. The quicker the set up, the more study time you have!

4. Take A Breather.

Who says you have to fill all 24 hours in the day with intellectual stimulation? If you feel like you're starting to get drained, take a brain break and do something to pamper yourself. Studies show that 60-90 minute study sessions are best for optimal retention. After that, your brain becomes fatigued and no longer stores the information that you are going over. Taking a 10-30 minute break should give you that next boost of energy you need. Hitting the gym, playing with some therapy dogs, or soaking in a bath to help relax your mind and body are all great ways to take a breather.

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Pro Tip: I don't care if you're the most basic of white chicks or the manliest of football players, Lush bath bombs are, well... the bomb! Pick up a few of those bad boys to up your bathing relaxation.

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Congrats! You made it through finals week, and you only cried in public twice! That's quite the accomplishment. Now you can enjoy winter break before coming back to campus for Spring semester and having to do it all over again.