CEC’s Ultimate Guide to Surviving Finals
You’re a UCLA student. You’re faithfully going to class (sometimes), attending club meetings, stacking paper at work, and kicking it with the pals, aka you’re living your best college life. But suddenly, out of nowhere, WHAM! 10th week hits you like a pile of bricks. What did we cover in Econ 11 last week? Oh yeah, you don’t remember because you haven’t been to lecture since week 4. Take a couple of deep breaths, we’ve all been there. We’re in this struggle together, and I’m here to help you. Compiling a wealth of knowledge from my 2.5 years at UCLA, I, on behalf of CEC, am here to present you with this glorious guide to making it out of finals with your mental and physical health intact!
1. Don’t stop working out in the name of “being more productive.”
You resist, claiming you can squeeze in 1.5 more lectures and 2 more episodes of Stranger Things (probably concurrently) in the time it takes you to haul a** to the gym. “I’ll work out next week when this is all over.” In the name of health and sanity, please get some physical exercise in. Yes, during finals. Working out clears the mind and gives your muscles a way to loosen up from all that sitting at a desk (or in bed…guilty). If going to the gym still seems like too much of a hassle, try taking a short walk around your residence, doing some stretches, or doing yoga or pilates in your dorm/apartment. Even 20 minutes will dispel some of that brain fog and help you feel more alert and focused. Get to it!
2. Continue to take care of your hygiene (for everyone’s sake).
I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of being in class with someone during finals season who smells a little…spicy. Besides the basic decency of making sure you’re hygienic enough to go to class, you’re just gonna feel even more crappy if you haven’t taken care of the basics. I promise you, you inevitably will spend more time procrastinating than the 20 minutes it takes to freshen up.
3. Eat healthily, your body is your temple.
I know, I know. You have $4.50 to last you the next 4 days and you have 3 papers to write for books you haven’t even bought yet. There might be a lot of 4 AM ramen and hot Cheetos, but when you have the agency to do so: eat healthily! Your brain is going to perform the most miracles when you’ve fed it actual nutrients (Red Coloring #3 is not a nutrient). Plus, you won’t come out of finals feeling extra bloated and sloppy. On the flip side: don’t forget to eat! You’re already under maximal stress, give your body and mind some help and make sure to fit in a couple meals when you start to feel fatigued or hungry.
4. Practice exercising focus, take breaks when necessary.
You are not a machine. You can’t study for 8 hours with no breaks. It’s bad for your eyes, morale, and soul. Take healthy breaks when you start to feel like you aren’t absorbing information or being as productive anymore. Maybe get a little exercise on your break 😉 (see tip#1 above). If you don’t plan breaks into your study schedule, you will inevitably break down and take them in the form of a 6 hour Netflix binge and screaming obscenities out the window with your friends (….guilty again). Just as importantly, don’t study with all your social media open whilst having 7 different conversations and watching 2 shows. You are not physically capable of multitasking. Don’t deny it, just look it up, it’s science. I promise you you will be done studying faster, do better, and have time for actual fun things if you grunt through the curriculum with your full attention. Practice disciplined work. It’s a skill that is invaluable to you not just in school, but in life.
5. DON’T. STRESS.
Listen. I know it’s a natural response to the seemingly insurmountable number of tasks you have to complete. However, stress does not fix your situation or inspire you to do two months of work in 12 hours. Stress saps your focus, energy, happiness, and motivation. You cannot fix the past. You cannot change the past. The best possible thing you can do for your grades and yourself is to do your best now. I know it sounds cliche, but my father (who got a PhD from Stanford and now works at Apple headquarters) would always tell me do your best, and don’t worry about the rest. That’s all you can do. Now work that magic! I believe in you!
Tugce T. and Campus Events Commission
cec. finals ain’t got nothing on us.