What NOT to do during Finals Week

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Finals week basically equals days and long, long nights chock full of caffeine. Tinder social turns into a group study session and never will you find a pencil if you need one. But it’ll show up under the thermostat soon enough. You’ll find countless tips on how to survive finals week on the internet, the wisest sage of our times. But since college kids don’t take advice but will listen to ways they could take L’s, here we are, being your mothers so your actual mothers don’t have to step up to the plate during finals week.

Here’s how to actually survive finals week without wanting to crawl in a hole and die.

1. Don’t drink more coffee than usual

You singlehandedly improve the profit margins at Starbucks, but boosting coffee plantation growth won’t increase your productivity. Try not to put your body into a caffeinated daze and stick to good ol’ H2O to supplement your usual regimen. But if you must have the caffeine dose, just make it mobile, like Syracuse University sophomore Arva Hassonjee does. “I spend more time at the library and so I pack snacks, tea bags and instant coffee powder in my backpack.”

2. Set no more than five back-to-back alarms

Very few people shoot out of bed like a bullet with just one alarm. But on the flipside, 20 alarms just instill the habit of expertly shutting down alarms in your sleep. Classical conditioning works exactly that way, and you wouldn’t know that if you didn’t get up in time for PSY101.

3. Don’t call people who end up stressing you out

Staying in touch sounds comforting but if calling a friend means going over the entire syllabus and study guide for a class you’re not even enrolled in, save yourself some time and watch Scandal for twenty minutes. “I put my phone on do not disturb during finals and after a certain time of the night, I will not respond to anyone,” said Syracuse University sophomore Bianca Castro. “I ghost everyone because I can’t handle talking to other people when I know I have 100 things to do.”

4. Don’t pull a literal ALL-nighter

Blasphemous, right? Your grades will go down as fast as your head hitting the desk, though, when you pass out during a calculus test that subtracted all the hours from eight hour sleep cycle and added nothing in return. Squeeze in a couple of hours at least before the exam.

5. Don’t overload on the nighttime cereal and mac-and-cheese

Long nights obviously equal high-calorie and low-quality snacks, but remember that the gym has been your constant companion through all the ups and downs of the semester. Try not to stress-eat all the endorphins away and jeopardize that summer body waiting to hit your Insta story. Get some healthy take-out instead. “A couple weeks before finals I start saving up so that I can spend on take-out during finals week. That way I don’t have to spend important study time cooking,” Hassonjee said. Smart, right? Try yummy salads instead of snacking on cupcakes.

6. Avoid binge-eating

You wouldn’t want to end up bloated or, worse, sick AF during your math final. “Avoiding binge-eating is important but it’s also unrealistic to just tell people ‘don’t eat’,” said Syracuse University nutrition major sophomore Andrea Yip. “If you absolutely must snack, go for something healthier like almonds, pistachios, dark chocolate, blueberries— whatever makes your heart happy.” If chips-and-guac make your heart the happiest, you might need to have the we-need-to-talk talk with your heart.

7. Don’t spend your time holed up inside

According to Yip, if you’re in a place that gets a lot of sun, get those Ray-Bans on and that overpriced sundress out. Getting some Vitamin D in your skin and brain can do wonders for your mood. You know what they say: A happy mind gets an above-average GPA.

8. Don’t violate quiet hours

Do you really want to be that jerk that hosts an EDM concert that no one else paid for/wanted to pay for? No, you don’t. Because like yourself, everyone paid for an education, not a sub-standard dorm-room Coachella experience during Finals Week. “Be respectful of others and their study time,” said Shazif Shaikh, a resident advisor at Syracuse University. “Otherwise, you’re just going to get written up.”

9. Try not to use your own laptop

Sounds harsh, yes. Helpful? Also a yes. “Most campus libraries have their own computers now,” Shaikh said. “Using those could minimize the distractions coming from your own laptop.” Yes, those distractions include your Facebook group chat blowing up over a friend’s dog’s photo or Netflix notifying you about a new show. That so-called high-priority info deserves proper attention and focus, but it can wait until you ace your final.

10. Don’t get tempted by Netflix’s new shows

We know. Netflix’s personal selections for you always make you feel loved and draw you in. But pause that kind of thinking for now: you will regret starting that Netflix original right on the cusp of finals week. Save the binge for the summer, when you can truly binge like you were born to.

So with the few days that are left, cram hard, drink your normal five cups of coffee and sleep your normal six hours a day. Whichever routine your body got used to, keep it that way. May the force be with you and if not, worry not— summertime will push all the painful memories away.

I’m a full-time sophomore studying magazine journalism at Syracuse University and part-time author of a constant stream of #randomthoughts residing in my brain that will probably never be printed. Keeping hopes up for an audiobook, though.

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