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Student Blog: Taking Care of Yourself During Finals

Finals are hard, but don't be hard on yourself!

Student Blog: Taking Care of Yourself During Finals

With the Spring semester wrapping up and finals breathing down your neck, don't forget to spend some time being you! Yes, there are exams to take, projects to finish, and bags to pack, but there's also (always) you. I have felt like I'm running behind on everything for the past month. You've probably felt the same way. That's why I want to encourage both of us, all of us, to chill out and take care for a minute. What have you done for yourself today? If you can't think of anything, have no fear: I am ready with some suggestions.

The number one way to beat end-of-semester stress is to do your favorite relaxing hobby. Read, sing, dance, watch a movie, etc. My only requirement for you is to make sure it doesn't relate to your finals. Put down the textbook for a good fantasy novel. Take a break from your vocal class repertoire to sing something that you truly love. Dance with no technique whatsoever to your favorite song. Trust me, the work will be waiting for you when you get back, and when you do, you'll feel much better and be able to knock it out of the park. Take breaks for these things, even while you study.

The second suggestion I have for you is to eat well. Make no mistake - I am not saying you have to necessarily eat healthy food - but eat well. Get protein and vegetables in your diet, and make room in your schedule to just eat: no work. Have a nice, filling meal without a textbook or computer in front of you. I recommend trying to have at least one complete meal every four to five hours you're awake. That may mean having four meals in a day if you decide to pull an all-nighter. Keep in mind that your body needs fuel, and eating is necessary to keep your brain and body going. You can't focus when you're hungry.

Speaking of keeping your body going: SLEEP. It's hard being a night-owl or a perfectionist during exams. It's hard being any student during exams. Still, you need a decent amount of shut-eye if you want to pass, no matter how much you study. Pulling those aforementioned all-nighters sounds like a good idea until you can't keep your eyes open and you're only on number two. Plus, studies have shown that sleeping improves memory, so it's a win-win! Try to get eight hours of sleep, especially the night before those exams. That way, you can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed enough to ace your tests.

My final suggestion (I need to go to bed myself) is to consider how much each grade means to you. Obviously, you want to do your best, but are you overly stressed about an exam that will barely affect your grade? Ask yourself what grade you want in each class, and calculate the exam score you need to achieve it. If there isn't a tool in your online grade book for potential grades, you can find the score you need to get a certain grade by using the following equation:

(Grade1 + Grade 2 + Grade 3+ (and so on) + x) / number of grades + x) = desired grade %

For example, let's say you have a 20/20, a 40/60, a 17/20, a 39/40, and a 76/100, and you want at least an 80 in the class. First, you would simplify those fractions into percentages. 20/20 = 100%, 40/60 = 67%, 17/20 = 85%, 39/40 = 97%, and 76/100 = 76%. Add up all of the percentages. In this example, you would get 425. Your equation would be

425 (the sum of percentages) + x (the exam grade you need) a?- 6 (the number of grades you calculated plus one)= 80 (the grade you want for the class)

(425+x)/6 = 80

First, multiply both sides by the number you're dividing by.

(425+x)/6*6 = 80*6

425+x = 480

Then, subtract the sum of the percentages from both sides.

425+x-425 = 480-425

X = 55

For this example, you would only need a 55 on your final to get a B in the class. Suddenly, it seems much less stressful! Calculating what you need to get the grade you want can put things in perspective very quickly, and it can help you organize your priorities. Hopefully, the example above wasn't too hard to follow.

Essentially, what I want for you and everyone this semester is to end strong without losing yourself to the work. You can do anything you set your mind to, but you have to make sure your mind and body are up to the challenge. I believe in you!

Stay safe, happy, healthy, and hydrated, and good luck on your final exams,

Jana Denning

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