Just Keep Swimming

Life has been a bit of a mess lately.

Currently, I spent the past 24 hours asleep.  Between a sinus-based migraine and a flare of whatever (maybe fibro?) joint issue this is, even that hasn’t helped.

Rewind a few days and you have an emergency surgery for my grandfather, complete with a complimentary *minor* heart attack.

Add in half a dozen Her Campus events to be planned, and finals beginning, as well as the pre-finals push to get more work in, and chaos is the simplest word to describe it all.

Pain sucks.  Stress sucks.  Worrying sucks.


My wonderful Fishy will be in town this weekend, hopefully armed with tea & burritos (anti-stress fuel, obviously).


Just need to make it until then.

12 Ways to Survive Finals Season

This is arguably the worst point of the semester.  Between projects, papers, exams, and trying to cram in all the last-minute extracurricular nonsense, life becomes absolute craziness.  Admittedly, though, if you’re at school, you should probably prioritize schoolwork at least a little.  That being said, here are by tips for surviving your finals season.

The Keurig is your BFF.  

Coffee, tea, cider…. You name it, your Keurig (or your roommate/BF/neighbour’s Keurig) is there for you.  You’ll want his constant companionship as you struggle to comprehend Freud for the umpteenth time.

I’m one of the guiltiest when it comes to skipping meals (or at least skipping healthy meals in favour of soaking in more stress.  Eat something.  Preferably something healthy.  Your body will thank you.


Repeat after me:  ALL NIGHTERS ARE NOT HELPFUL.  You need the sleep more than you need those extra hours of delirious “studying.”

Prepare your toolkit
Read my suggestions here.

Talk to your professors.

When I took Astrophysics, I was in way over my head. By talking to the professor and getting some study tips (as well as letting him know I was worried!), I got through it with one of the better grades of that semester.  Whether or not you believe it, your professors are there to help you!

Plan ahead
It may be too late to do an intensive month-long schedule, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time to do a bit of prep-work.  Print out a blank calendar and pick a different colour for each final.  Work backwards from the due date and make each task a bit more manageable!

Organize everything else
Take those extracurriculars, and get what you can out of the way ASAP.  Delegate what you can (spread it out, though, so you don’t just transfer your stress to someone else!).

Review your notes AND the readings.

I’m not saying to re-do all of your assignments, but skimming the readings once more (especially those you didn’t look at as in-depthly initially) can make a huge difference.

Research guides are your friend.  
Google what you don’t understand— chances are someone else has had the same question.  Make a study guide from your readings (even better if your professor gave one out!).  Just don’t let yourself stay stuck in confusion.

Utilize Google Drive.  
Group project?  Google Drive.  Basic graphic design?  Google Drive.  Presentation?  Google Drive.  Paper you don’t want to have half-deleted during a computer update?  Google Drive.  It’s a godsend.

Take those breaks.

You’re going to think it’s counterintuitive to stop working, but your brain and body both need the break.  Hit up the dining hall with your friends.  Call home.  Go find a dog to play with.  Do something that doesn’t relate to gender norms in the Eastern world for a while!

No matter what you do, don’t procrastinate now!!

Study Tools You NEED

Okay, so maybe you don’t neeeeeeed all of these things, at least not in an absolute sense.  For me, though, they’re pretty darn crucial to making it through those strenuous study sessions.


This guy gets it.t

And backups.  Bonus points if you have a sharpener.  I’m a fan of Dixon Ticonderogas (like, die-hard fan, don’t judge me), but I’ll sometimes cave and use mechanical to avoid the panic of a dull point.

Coloured Pens
With whiteout.  There is very little in this world (and don’t ask me what) that isn’t better when colour-coded.  I find it especially helpful to re-write notes in different colours, like vocab words in orange.

These are my absolute favourite!  So many pretty colours!  Colour-code and prettify ALL the notes and study guides!

Chances are, if you need to study a subject, you can utilize flashcards in some way (except maybe applied mathematics, but who wants to do that anyway??).  Use a case like this one to keep your stacks organized.

If you’re utilizing the library, you can’t write in the books (if you aren’t utilizing the library, what the $^@% is wrong with you???).  Use post-its to note important points, pre-write citations, etc.  The flags are great for marking pages, as I’m sure you know!

Sharpie Pens
Okay, so you could really use any pen, but these are by far the best, in my opinion (these get the silver medal, though!).

Nothing is as bad as getting dehydrated while holed up in the library/academic building/dorm desk.

Same goes for caffeine withdrawal, only double.

Playlist or Noise
If you like to study with music, have a go-to playlist of motivational songs (see mine here!).  If that’s not your style, but the silence is too much to bear, check out white/any other color noise.  I recommend Noizio!  Note:  USE HEADPHONES to avoid angry glares/comments from your peers.

Hear me out.  Sleep is important.  College kids lead crazy hectic lives.  Naps are crucial.

And Pinterest, if you can handle the temptation to browse.  With study tips and answers to nearly any question you could have, the internet is your friend.  Check out my personal board of college tips here!

Or Tylenol/Motrin/whatever painkiller you prefer.  Just have something for the seemingly inevitable headache, so you can knock it out as quickly as possible.

Leggings & a sweatshirt/sweater.
You want to be as comfy as possible when studying, but not so comfy that you want to fall asleep immediately (that means you, cat pajamas).  The cozier the outfit, the better the study session.

Vitamins & Emergen-C (or equivalent Vitamin C)
It seems like EVERYONE gets sick this time of year.  Avoid this with some proactivity!

Self Control
Not only the actual virtue, but the app or an equivalent can help quell your temptation to check your Instagram every five minutes.

This one’s a bit contested, but I often find that a low-profile show playing in the background is the perfect “noise” to aid my studying, and it makes it seem a lot less like hard work.

Most importantly, know yourself and what works for you!