A Guide to Finals Self-Care

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Friends, the semester is almost over. There are so many feelings that come this time of year, and almost all of them involve exhaustion of some sort. Chick-fil-a and coffee consumption are at an all-time high, and the library is full of delirious groups of friends cramming the night before a final. There is a special type of bonding that occurs during the chaos of finals week.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, the culture of college has made us ok with losing our ability to function normally during finals. However, this doesn't have to be true. It's possible to do finals well without sacrificing your self care. Today, I give you my (rough) guide to surviving finals while still being a person.

Keep a routine.

Having a routine and writing everything in my planner has been one of the self-care practices that has been the best for me. Finals look so different than the rest of the semester, but keeping yourself in a rhythm is key. Freshman year, I tried to do what I thought was the cool college finals thing: abandon any normal way of existing and resign myself to a caffeinated misery in the library. Now, I've realized that scheduling study time and study breaks is easier on both my body and my mind.

Sleep and eat. Seriously.

I know that everything you ever read about finals tells you to sleep and eat, but that's because it's important and college students (i.e. me) are terrible at this. The way you treat your body has an incredible effect on your mind. If you pull all-nighters and live off of ice cream and energy drinks, your body will hate you. During finals you are allowed to sleep normal amounts and to eat three meals a day. I know this doesn't always happen, but acting like your physical health doesn't affect your academic performance is a lie. 

you do you.

My freshman year, I completely bought into the narrative that finals had to be this insanely difficult experience. I blew money on junk food, got almost no sleep, and spent hours in the library with my friends. I felt like a zombie and I didn't do as well as I had hoped on most of my finals.

Sophomore year, I let myself do what came naturally to me. I normally don't like studying in the library or in big groups, so during finals I kept my normal study habits and studied by myself at coffee shops. I drank a lot more coffee than normal, but I still ate three (healthy-ish) meals a day. When I couldn't keep my eyes open while I was studying, I slept. At first, I felt guilty, like I was missing out on the "real" finals experience. But once I freed myself up to do finals my way, my studying was way more productive. 

Ultimately, you are allowed to do finals in the way that works best for you (hint: that way will always include self-care). If you study best in at 2 am in the library with 6 other people, go for it. If you study better by spending an afternoon by yourself at a coffee shop, do it. Finals week is a time to be even more aware of your physical and mental health, not to ignore them. Be kind to yourself. Today and every day, you are a person worth taking care of.

Wishing you good grades and good coffee,

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