How to Kick Finals in the Face

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Written by Rakel Crockett

It’s like when you’re playing a video game and then you come to the last stage where you have to fight the insanely oversized character to win the game. Unless you’ve been living under a rock we all know that we have are approaching that final battle, literally. Don’t let this battle get the best of you. Put on your war paint, tie a bandana on your head, and prepare for this battle. Being a seasoned pro, I have successfully gotten through finals four times. I will share some tips and tricks that I have found useful to kick finals where it hurts.

*disclaimer: following all of these tips won’t make you pass your exams/projects, but it will definitely help!

Know What Environment Helps You Study

Whether you love to sit in Sencha, the basement of Walter, or at the Graduate Hotel (previously the Commons Hotel), find an area where you know you’ll get work done. Most places on campus have extended hours for finals weeks allowing you to get your caffeine fix at midnight--which I do not recommend. I highly suggest not studying at home or in your dorm room. If you’re like me once I get home I get into my pajamas, and the combination of trying to do homework in your pajamas while sitting on your bed is the worst scenario.

Attend Student Group or Campus Sponsored De-stress Events

No one likes finals. Luckily we have resources here on campus to help us during this stressful time. There are so many student groups on campus that host de-stress events. I have attended group study sessions and taken advantage of events with free food available. When you go to these events you can meet new people, get free food, or be able to study with a group of people (but not be obligated to talk to any of them). If you don’t know about any of these de-stress events, I suggest checking Facebook Events or asking your friends if they know of anything going on!

Make A List of Things To Get Done (and Stick to It!)

I’m a visual learner; I need to see it to be able to understand what I’m doing and be able to get it done. Often times I create a checklist on my computer in order of importance and use that to know what project/exam I should be focusing on first. Being able to cross one thing off your list at a time is such a satisfying feeling and you’ll be one step closer to being done!

Are you like me and get distracted way too easily? The internet has got our back! I will share with you my secrets for getting work done on time and not procrastinating:

  1. This option is not the most effective, but it gets the job done (for me)! I charge my computer to a good battery percentage like 75% or 85%, take my computer with me to do homework, and leave the charger at home. This method ensures that I get all of my work done before my computer dies.

  2. Download an application to help you stay on track. I use SelfControl while I do my homework. It’s an macOS application you download to your computer and it helps you block your access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. You can set up the duration of time that you want all of these features to be blocked on your computer. Here is the super cray cray part: you cannot stop the feature once you start it. You can uninstall the application of your computer, you can even restart your whole computer, the application will continue running until time runs up. #witchcraft

If you don’t have a Mac, there is a google chrome extension called Self Control which essentially does the same job. The app works by blocking patterns within the full url. For example, if you were to block the pattern "book" websites like and would both be blocked. It doesn’t have the same feature of not letting you stop the time, but I am hoping you would be responsible enough to not do that.

Have A Study Playlist

I love music; I cannot function without it. I have multiple different playlists on my Spotify account depending on what mood I am in. I have a playlist called “Focus” with instrumentals that allow me to zone out but still have something in the background. Another playlist I have is called, “that chill good good” because it has slow jams by artists like Daniel Caesar, Russ, JMSN, and Tom Misch (if you don’t know who those artists are shame on you). I so graciously linked those playlists, so you have no excuse not to listen to something while you study.

I highly suggest having music that you know helps you study, whether that be a curratored playlist of songs that help you focus or listening to a genre you can focus to. Listening to pop music is a big no no, because when you listen to songs that you know the lyrics to you begin focusing on singing along to the song instead of doing your work. When you listen to songs that you don’t know the lyrics to, you focus more on the beat than the lyrics and you can actually study.

Sleep/Take Breaks

Last, but definitely not least! Ensuring that you get some sleep and taking breaks when you study is hands down a tip that I do not take for granted. In my personal opinion sleep >> school any day. I ensure that I get 6-8 hours of sleep per night, and have a good breakfast before I take an exam. Also, taking breaks while you study your life away is essential. Sitting on your bottom for many hours at a time is not healthy. Take a break every hour or so by either watching YouTube videos or crying in the corner (this is a joke, or is it?).

If you’re on campus and want an amazing meal for breakfast to treat yourself before a big final, I suggest going to Jamba Juice and getting one of their Energy Bowls. The Island Pitaya Paradise with extra bananas is the absolute best.

These are the most important tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way. I hope all of these tips and tricks help you out during finals. I know you all will kick finals in the face and rock all of your final exams/projects!