For most people the beginning of December brings holiday joy and cheer. For the overworked and mentally deteriorating college student the only thing it brings is stress, anxiety, and late nights in the library. The perfect ending to 16 weeks of classes is an accumulation of exams, projects, and papers, all conveniently condensed into a short strenuous time period. The final stretch before a well needed and earned break from school, Finals week is universally dreaded by all who encounter it. That being said the desperation of students actually brings the UAlbany community together.
The Campus Libraries extend their closing hours, becoming packed with all different type of students. From commuter students to grad students to slackers to overachievers, the library becomes the communal hub for all students in the final days of the semester. Some students, the one who live on campus, choose to study in one of the many study lounges distributed through each quad. Its the perfect location for all-nighters, conveniently located near the vending machines that are stocked to the brim with sodas, energy drinks, and other sugary snacks. And afterward as the sun begins to rise, the semi conscious college student only has to drag their lifeless body a few steps away to their dorm room, talk about perfect. The main university library will sometimes have free coffee and other beverages set up in the entry way, aiding all who seek an energy boost to get them through the early hours of the morning. Certain places on campus, whether it be the campus center or the science library, will have therapy dogs for students to interact with. The idea is that students can relax and distress by playing with an adorable little puppy, and it actually works, school and all it’s stressers disappear into thin air. Of course this is only for a moment because the return to work is inevitable. Yes, for 2 times a year, UAlbany comes alive with students filling every corner of campus, trying to finish the semester on a hopeful note. Over time I have learned that it can be pretty challenging to keep your cool during this time of year especially if you struggle with handling stress. As a freshman it’s an especially hard first semester of finals because you’ve never experienced anything like it before. It can be very overwhelming having all your exams for all your classes within a few days of each other. Sometimes people get unlucky and have 2 or more on the same day, leaving you with a limited amount of time to devote to each subject. As you get older more and more finals become cumulative, having to relearn material that hasn’t been relevant in months. The more finals weeks you go through the better you learn how to handle it, however even the most experienced student feels the pressure and stress of the dreaded week. For students who haven’t really gotten the grasp of it yet, I want to offer some advice I’ve learned over the course of many stressed out weeks.
- Don’t be fooled by how much free time you have. With the end of classes come even more free time than you had before. This can be a huge set back for students who now don’t have class as incentive to leave their bed. Without class some students take finals week as something like and extended weekend, which I assure you it’s not.
- Don’t cram. People tend to underestimate how important timing is during finals week. I am personally the type of person where when the deadline draws closer, the more motivated I become. This is one of my biggest character flaws. When you cram for an exam you aren’t able to fully learn or memorize everything you need to for the test. It’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared.
- Get a good night sleep before every exam. This is something you should consider for every exam and not just finals. Every student has come to the fork in the road where they have to determine if they should pull an all-nighter or study in the morning before an exam based on experience I will always recommend the latter. Pulling an all-nighter drains your brain and by sunrise you’re an exhausted zombie who hasn’t retained any of the information they have been studying for hours. It’s better to study as much as possible until bed, get a decent amount of sleep and wake in the morning energized and ready to review. Plus, studying and breakfast go hand and hand I’ve come to find.
- Find every possible opportunity to distress. This is so important because you become overworked so easily during finals week. Putting aside a few hours to do things other than studying actually improves studying. There have been many times where I’ve spent hours straight in the library without a break and by the end of it my mind is so exhausted it’s unable to process anything. Giving yourself sometime away from the endless amount of school work helps keep stress from building up, which is essential in avoiding a mental break down.
- Don’t be discourage, you will get through this.
Melissa F. Class of 2018 Majors: Spanish & Communication Blog Theme: Fierce & Freaked
Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.