Survive Finals

It’s that time of year again… not Christmas time, but time for final exams.  It’s the bane of every student’s existence– the time when those pent-up emotions come out, when nightmares transform female professors into sinister cardinals, when little things that bug you suddenly become worthy of a full-fledged rant (daffodils, bleah!), and the time when certain substances are in (coffee, chocolate and peppermint), while others go totally out the window (alcohol, certain medicines)….  Let’s face it, we’re already inundated with advice on how to get through this stressful time, but I’ll add my voice, too.

1. If you get a cold, skip the cold meds.  Believe me when I tell you.  Two years ago I let my roommate talk me into taking her non-drowsy Dayquil for my cold a mere hour before my history final.  I barely remember taking the exam.

2. Sleep.  Seriously.  Your brain needs it.  All-nighters are bad for you.  If you really must work through the night, try to at least get at least 4 hours of sleep.  Your system will thank you.

3. Eat.  You’ll get sick if you don’t.  You’ll perform better on your tests if you do.  It goes hand-in-hand with sleep.  The brain is part of the body, and you need to take care of both.

4. Don’t over-study.  If your brain feels like it’s going to explode and you can’t read another word– you probably can’t.  Take a walk.  Eat a piece of chocolate.  Have a nap.  Do something else for at least 20 minutes then try again.  Or try another subject.

5. Bring snacks (if allowed).  The only thing I liked about standardized tests (not the GRE) was that we were liberally plied with chocolate, mints, and gum.  I’m still fuzzy on whether it’s a placebo or not, but whatever it is, it really works.

This won’t get a number, but I find that music helps me, whether I’m studying, writing a paper, or thinking “buggerall, I’m cracking up.”  Here’s my playlist for the latter (


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