The CC Weekly Weigh In: Finals Survival Tactics


Ahhhh!!!  Finals!

Everything comes down to this! Your grade, your GPA, your good standing with the parental units (who “aren’t paying for you to party all the time, you know!”). You’ve got tests and papers and presentations and it’s all coming at you so fast and you barely opened the book all semester and there was that 2 week span where you couldn’t stop watching Gilmore Girls on DVD and skipped, like, 12 lectures and now you have to make it all up and pass all the tests and OMFG.

How are you ever going to survive?!

These feelings of stress and near-mental breakdown come every year, with every finals week. The combination of stress, seasonal depression and gallons of caffeine wears down even the most seasoned student until she’s hunched over that 7lb textbook at 4am on a Tuesday crying into her Venti Americano. But once the fear subsides a bit (and she’s wiped that snot from her upper lip), she gets into her groove, remembers her fool-proof study strategies and plows through those notes like drunken frat boy through a wall.

If you’re feeling the finals stress (who isn’t?!) and need a little advice on how to make it through, read on. This week the CollegeCandy writers share their secrets for finals survival. One of these is bound to get you one step closer to that 4.0. And if not, well, at least give us an “A” for effort.

Brithny – Duke: I make sure I’m never too far from a coffee shop. Oh, and I’m seen double-fisting sugar-free Red Bull quite frequently too.

Norah – Drake University: Thankfully, as a journalism student, most of my “finals” are semester-long projects. But to stay on top of things, I rely on my Yo-Yo Ma station on Pandora…and I ask a friend to change my Facebook password during finals week.

Kendra – University of Pittsburgh: My finals trick is Adderall. I know it’s kind of like cheating, but it really helps me buckle down and just study. Other than that, my trick is coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee.

Elizabeth – UC Berkeley: I listen to annoying 90’s pop music to keep me awake.  Screw caffeine, I’ll take *NSync and 98 degrees any day.

Lauren – University of Michigan: I think setting goals is important. Like, “I can watch an episode of Community after I finish outlining this chapter,” or “I can go on Facebook and stalk my ex for 15 minutes after I successfully run through all of these note cards.”

Ness – Sheridan: I’ve been diligent about taking really good notes during my whole semester. While I attend a school that is very hands-on, I have the bonus of having pretty easy finals so I’m not too stressed. Thank you so much, art school!

Lexi C. – Brown: ACRONYMS! They are a fantastic way to store lists of information you might need to remember. I always tried to make mine as funny or as tasteless as possible, and use people’s names too! For example: Instead of “My very elegant mother” for remembering the order of the planets, whip up something like “Missy’s Vagina Eats Men” and you’ll ace that shi

Ricki – University of Michigan: After years of searching for the perfect study place, I finally discovered Starbucks. The noise level is perfect- you can ignore conversations at other tables since you don’t really care what other people are saying, but it’s not too quiet that you feel bad if your phone vibrates. Plus, you can indulge in a caffeine trip whenever you need!

Noa – CU Boulder: Get everything you need (and I mean everything) before you settle down somewhere to work: tissues, a giant fountain soda, snacks, hand cream, lip balm, a cell charger… You don’t want to give yourself any excuse to get up. Then make a list of what you need to get done. You’ll feel super good when you can cross things off (even if one of those things is “order dinner”).

K – GWU: Finals abroad are not easy. How do I cope? Escapism in the form of a 4 am flight to Sweden! Viking husband, here I come!

Jessica – Hofstra: Triple grande nonfat lattes from Starbucks, lots of chocolate, and index cards. I write out flashcards and notes for everything I’m studying. Writing everything is annoying but I’ve found that it is definitely the best way to remember it all!

Kelly- Simmons College: Studying with someone else helps me, because I learn better if I’m also teaching.

Brianna – Fordham university: My best friend and I always have an annual study date at our favorite coffee shop and we share iced cappuccinos and sandwiches while we study. Even though I dread finals I’m always looking forward to them because it’s the only time we have four hours to gossip and eat…. Oh yeah, and study of course.

Mechelle – Florida State: While the rest of campus is hopped up on Adderall, I’ve drank enough Diet Coke to kill a horse.

Charlsie – Hollins University: The key to getting through finals for me is to do as much work prior to finals week, so I don’t have anything hanging over my head. I’ve been able to do all my work, so for this upcoming finals week, all I have to worry about is taking an essay final and turning in a portfolio. It makes things easy peasy when you get them done ahead of time.

Emmy – Loyola: I hide in the stacks of the library where I don’t have cell phone reception and no one can distract me. Oh, and I drink a LOT of water to help with the lack of sleep.

Sarabeth – University of Texas: I just take things one chapter at a time with 15-30 minute breaks in between. It keeps me from cramming things at the last minute, which never works.

What’s your secret?

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