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Healthy tips and tricks to tackle finals

It’s now December, that sweet, sweet time of year when the weather is cooler and we’re about to get out for a nice long break before the Spring semester starts.  But first, we’ve got to endure possibly the worst thing for any college student to endure: finals.  Yes, it may be close to our long-won freedom, but before we can attain that we have to get over those spiky hurdles that guard the way.

For students who deal with anxiety or any other mental health issues that can prohibit them from getting the most out of studying, finals can be difficult.  I myself have had nights where the prospect of going into that testing room or turning in the final draft of a paper makes me physically sick and shaky.  However, there are ways to combat these anxieties.

USA Today released a list of study tips for finals, and some of them are ones that I have used in order to lower my stress during exam season.  These are the five on the list I most use:

1. Meet with a professor, tutor or learning specialist – I find meeting with my professors before turning in papers to be extremely helpful.  It helps quell worries I have when it comes to how I’m forming the paper.  Almost always when I go to my professors and they see I’m having anxieties, they are more than willing to help in any way they can.

2. Take short breaks. Your brain can process a limited amount of information and benefits from some rest – Taking breaks are crucial for me. When I start panicking while I’m studying, a friend and I will go for a walk around the oval in front of Mills Hall to get some fresh air.

3. Create flashcards – This is key for studying anything that you have for an exam!  Flashcards have saved my grade for tests that require me to know a massive amount of definitions.

4. Overlearn the material – Even if I feel like I’ve done enough studying for the night, I go back and do two more skim-throughs to help better process the information.  This also helps me make sure that when I start feeling like I don’t know anything, I can take a step back and remind myself of how much I’ve read the material.

5. Reward yourself with naturally enjoyable activities – When I’ve done enough studying, I reward myself with an episode of my favorite show “Criminal Minds” or anything else I feel like de-stressing with.  That is my way of rewarding myself for powering through studying.

These methods are particularly helpful for me when I’m getting myself prepped for finals.  When I do these, I not only feel more confident, but I’m taking better care of myself.  And if I take better care of myself, I know I’m sure to have a fantastic winter break.