OPINION: Don’t let finals be the death of you

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We are quickly approaching those horrible, horrible five days: finals week. Whether you are writing papers until dawn or pent up in Hale until the moment your final starts, students are always stretched thin and are bound to snap. In order to avoid a seemingly inevitable breakdown, we need to find a way to balance our lives to find time for all that comes with finals week, including but not limited to studying, sleeping, crying, drinking coffee, drinking more coffee and crying again.

Sleep

Some will argue that pulling an all-nighter at least once in college is inevitable. This, my fellow students, is not true. If you like pulling all-nighters and have seen successful results because of them, by all means. Otherwise, depriving yourself of your bed isn’t the answer to getting the grade you want.

According to a Feb. 22, 2012 National Institute of Health article titled, “Why Is Sleep Important,” sleeping helps your brain work properly. Those of you pulling all-nighters are missing out on your brain forming new pathways during sleep that help you learn and remember information, thus preparing you for the final you have the next day. People joke all the time about having serious relationships with their beds, but it’s true: the better sleep you have, the better your ability to learn. Without it, you may have troubles making decisions and solving problems, which could result in a worse final score.

Eat healthy

Finals week is more than just about drinking ungodly amounts of coffee and seeing who can stay up the latest. Eating healthy is very important during this stressful week, and eating fast, unhealthy snacks in order to avoid wasting any precious time that could be used studying could affect your grade in the end.

According to a Clarke University article titled, “10 Healthy Eating Tips for the Busy College Student,” something as simple as eating breakfast can go a long ways in helping you reach your end goal of a good test grade. Studies show that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement. The article suggests something as simple as a bagel or piece of fruit can replace a balanced breakfast if need be.

Exercise

Let both summer and the fear of being in a bathing suit, as well as your final exams, be an excuse to exercise this week. There are numerous benefits to exercising, but taking a break from your books and notes may do more good than you think.

While taking a couple hours out of your study schedule may seem daunting and unnecessary, you should consider the possible benefits from it, including aerobic exercise, which has the unique capacity to both exhilarate and relax, make you more calm and dissipate stress, according to a Feb. 11 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Exercise is also known to help with problems as difficult as anxiety and depression and reduce levels of the body’s stress hormones.

The most important key to success when it comes to final examinations is to not let them take over your life. Your GPA may matter for things like getting into graduate school or applying to the Peace Corps. These things, though, shouldn’t be the reason you are left at the end of finals week resembling a zombie who is lacking sleep, food and socialization. Take care of your GPA, but more importantly, take care of yourself. Good luck, Wildcats.

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