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Finals week advice

Allison Chase
Allison Chase

Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us, and we see everything from holly wreaths on apartment doors to the lit-up trees in Old Town. We’re ready to fill up on gingerbread and eggnog, we have our suitcases in our cars, ready to head out as soon as possible, and we are already wondering what to get significant others, siblings, and parents for Christmas.

However, there is one significant obstacle in our way: Finals week. This is the thorn-bush that bars our path and trips us up at every step. I detest it as much as the rest of you do, which is why I am providing some armor for the thorns ahead, and by armor, I mean advice.


  1. If you have papers to write, do those first. Write them in order of due date and take care of everything, from theses to mechanics. The more basic concepts, such as grammar and sentence structures, are supposed to be right on target because if you mess up, you will get a low grade for that because, really, you should know better. Once your papers are out of the way, you can concentrate on studying.

  2. Cramming is dumb, end of story.

  3. Do not neglect a really easy final in favor of studying for a really hard one. You will be unpleasantly surprised when you get your grades in January.

  4. Make sure you have the right date, time and location of every final. If you must, pester your professors at the beginning and end of every class to make certain you have it right. You don’t want to walk into the room to discover that you’re in the Medicinal Botany final instead of Geology 120.

  5. Get a decent amount of sleep, eat plenty of protein and fruits and vegetables, and stay hydrated, because the human body was not meant to experience half of the stress that it undergoes for finals week.

  6. In conjunction with getting a good night’s sleep, make sure that you observe quiet hours in the dorm. You will be very unhappy when you discover the depths to which college students will sink to get revenge.

  7. If you have a day with no finals, clean up your house and get ready to move out. Use this time to take out the trash and recycling, vacuum and do your laundry.

  8. Even if you arrive at your finals in pajamas and/or sweats, at least shower before you do so. If you’re malodorous, you’ll distract everybody. Plus, who doesn’t feel stress melt away under a jet of hot water?

  9. The gym will be mostly empty. Take advantage of this and relieve stress with some exercise or a session in the steam room.

  10. We have counselors, psychiatrists and massage therapists on campus. Use them.

  11. Take a ten-minute break for every hour of study, and if you need a nap, take twenty minutes. If you absolutely must pull an all-nighter, go for the “crab nap” approach. Take a 20 minute nap every six hours. You’ll be much crankier than if you simply stayed awake all that time, but you will also be more alert and more likely to make good guesses and remember the correct answer. MythBusters confirmed this.

  12. If you have any superstitions about finals, it’s OK with me if you follow them to the letter. You might look silly, but like the beer commercials say, “It’s only stupid if it doesn’t work.” If that means carrying your security blankie in your backpack, do it.

  13. When you’re done studying, return your textbooks as soon as possible and, if you’re still stressed, use the money to pamper yourself.

  14. You are not alone. Lean on your friends and trust them; there is a chance you can all make it out alive.

  15. Again, you are not the only one going through this, so don’t bite anyone’s head off. Keep your temper because, with people as stressed as they are, one short remark will lead to an insulted response will lead to an argument, and that will have a domino effect that could end up in a massive fight.

  16. Drugs, whether caffeine in Coke’s and coffees, alcohol in New Belgium’s and Bud Light, or, worst of all, speed, are never the answer. It should go without saying that getting high on pot is a dumb way of studying, especially before your test.

I’m going through this too, and we’ll be OK, I promise.

Allison Chase is a junior creative writing major. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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