I know what you’re thinking: sanity?! During finals?? Well that’s impossible.
Okay, guys. Deep breath…


Finals are starting. Your planner is blowing up with frantic scrawls written with the only pen you have yet to lose this semester, professors all appear to be forgetting that you’re enrolled in four classes for God’s sake, and due dates are approaching faster than you’re mentally prepared for. Don’t panic.


Now, I do feel like a little bit of a hypocrite saying that, because I definitely am panicking. But, to help make it through this week of essay edits and last-minute memorization, I’ve devised 10 tactics I plan to use to make it through relatively unscathed (or at least with minimal mental scarring).


1. Prioritize you. That’s right: be selfish. Remember what’s most important here. For me, it’s my grades. This week, I’ve got a lot on my plate. However, I know that keeping up my GPA is the most important. That, and my mental health. Know what you need to do to make each day a success and make sure you do those things. So, when your friend asks you for that extraneous favor that will take 30 minutes out of your study time, say no. If you think you can swing it, then by all means go ahead. But if helping out your friend will stress you out and risk you getting done what you need to, don’t feel obligated. Your friend will be ok. Also, here’s a secret: they’re prioritizing themselves, too. It’s a stressful time. So be a little selfish this week, and do what you gotta do to make it through.

2. Make a running to-do list. When you have so much on your plate, it can be easy to let things fall through the cracks. As great as the “I can just remember everything I have to do” method is, it’s not. And once things start slipping, it can feel like the whole universe is crashing down. Cue stress attack. However, you can prevent this before it happens! Keep a running to-do list of every little thing you need to get done. As the list shrinks throughout the week, you’ll feel like a badass, accomplished member of society.

3. Make a daily to-do list. Yes. More to-do lists. Don’t knock it till you try it— because that running to-do list is probably going to be a lengthy one. It might get a little overwhelming. Again: cue stress attack. However, you can make smaller, more manageable to-do lists at the start of each day. When you wake up, sit down for 3 minutes and think: what do I absolutely, non-negotiably need to get done today? Write those things down. Then start with accomplishing those things first. It can be easy to clog up your to-do list with things that would be ok to leave undone, like your laundry or cleaning your room. Keep these things on that longer to-do list, and preserve this one for the things you 100% NEED to finish today. 10000% more manageable amount of tasks, I promise.

4. Work out. This may seem counter-intuitive, cause of the time commitment. However: endorphins. Stress release. Productive jump to your day. Beating the mid-day slump. Need I go on?

5. Schedule in study time. It’ll keep you accountable. It also can help you visualize how much free time you really have at your disposal, and will make sure you don’t waste it.


6. Limit study time with friends. Friends make great study partners from time to time, but if you find yourself continually spending hours in the library chatting instead of getting anything done, take note of that. Prioritize you, make changes accordingly. Friends and social sanity are important, yes, but limiting this time can make the time you do spend with them more valuable and the time you spend studying more effective.

7. Take productivity breaks that are still, well… productive. Some examples of activities that are productive but give your brain a break include laundry, making your bed, prepping your meals for the next day, etc. You can make these tasks more fun, too! For example, I like to blast some music while I do my laundry, and maybe dance a little in my room. Or try out a new food recipe for your lunch the next day, that’s always fun as well!

8. Meal plan. This may sound like an odd suggestion, because it’s time consuming. But you know what won’t make you feel better this week? Not eating healthily. The sugary or processed foods you’ll most likely find in the library vending machine will probably make you feel sluggish, tired and unproductive. Hence, more stress. To prevent this, before the barrage of assignments really start, plan and prep a few healthy meals for the week, even if it’s just one or two. You can store them in your freezer or fridge and pack them in to-go containers for easy access to meals you can bring with you to the library or class. That way, when you’re inevitably too busy to have time to cook during the week, you’ll have some healthy options. You’ll thank your past self, and get quality, wholesome meals instead of losing out on money and nutrition by buying something on campus when you’re pressed for time.

9. Reward yourself. Buy yourself an extra coffee, make some tea and watch an episode or two of Netflix, finally buy yourself that shirt or new sneakers you’ve been eyeing… The rewards will help balance out the workload, and help keep your spirits from plummeting. Plus, TREAT YO SELF. You deserve it.



10. Take one day at a time. Remember those daily to-do lists? You can absolutely accomplish them. You are a strong, equipped, adult and you can kick this final’s week’s ass 🙂

About The Author

Holly is a senior at Northeastern University from Boca Raton, FL, where she is a double major in English and Mathematics. She loves books, math, and all things nerdy, as well as fitness. Holly is a group fitness instructor at her school's gym and at BURN Fitness Studios. Her favorite classes right now focus on HIIT training and cardio boxing.

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