OPINION: 3 ways to keep it cool under finals week pressure

Before you start studying for finals, take some time to plan out your schedule and include breaks to give your brain a rest. (John Chappel | Collegian Media Group)

Finals week is always an interesting time. I’m fairly certain that during the previous three finals weeks of my college experience, I’ve managed to consume Netflix shows and burn through more movies than during the entire rest of the school year.

This isn’t just procrastination, though (although some of it is). It’s a carefully planned strategy that makes sure I ace each exam. Here are three steps to planning your own relaxed, movie-filled, successful finals week.

1. Write it out.

We’ve all heard the saying: “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is especially true when it comes to finals week. Instead of freaking out about how much you have to study, take a more positive outlook. Finals week is an almost entirely free week — you don’t have your normal class schedule and each exam is only around 2 hours. That’s a lot of extra time you don’t normally have.

The Saturday or Sunday before finals, sit down and write out what you’ll be doing each day. First, start with the things set in stone, like the times and days of your final exams, work shifts or meetings. Then, fill in study time before each of your finals. Visually creating a plan like this allows you to prioritize your time.

For example, if you have a chemistry final on Monday and a philosophy final on Wednesday, you know you’ll spend all day Sunday and part of Monday morning studying for the chemistry final. Once that’s over, you’ll spend all day Tuesday and part of Wednesday morning studying for philosophy.

Finally, write down the steps for studying each subject. For example, maybe studying for your chemistry final means creating a study guide, going over flashcards and attending a study group. Philosophy might be summarizing readings, explaining what you know to someone else and reviewing notes. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing when you hit each study time.

2. Take brain breaks.

Now comes the fun part. After each final exam, schedule at least an hour for a brain break. You’re not fit to study right after finishing an exam. Instead of studying right away, watch a movie, a few episodes of “The Office” or go for a long walk outside. Even if you feel panicked and like you won’t have enough time to take a break, it is worth it. You’ll come back much more capable of studying than you would’ve been otherwise.

3. Prepare sustenance.

Now that your study schedule is complete, it’s time to gather the goods. Have your beverage of choice — my favorite is coffee — and snacks stocked and ready to go before finals week hits. That way, you won’t have to make a late-night run for food. You’ll be using the time you would’ve been driving to study for that chemistry final instead. Your future self will thank you.

Taking even a few minutes to schedule out your finals week can make a huge difference in the long run. Make sure to treat yourself with a few movies and study hard — you’re almost to the finish line!

Olivia Rogers is a community editor for the Collegian, the secretary of the College Republicans at Kansas State and a junior in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

I’m Olivia Rogers. I graduated with dual degrees in philosophy and political science in May 2020. After I graduated, I went on to attend law school at Notre Dame. While at the Collegian, I served as the community editor for several semesters, working to share the opinions of the K-State student body. I write because: “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle