Illustration by Maddi Masterson

Techniques to destress and stay sane this finals season

By Zoe Jennings

Every semester as finals season rolls around, I can almost taste the sweet scent of freedom in the air. We’re almost done! A whole month off from school, when I won’t have to meet with professors, write essays, cram for exams, or spend all my time in the library? I’m counting down the days.

But first, we have to get through finals.

I like to think of myself as a pretty relaxed, on-top-of-things person. I love planning and staying organized, and usually I’m pretty good at managing my workload. Nonetheless, each year when finals roll around I find myself getting overwhelmed with the amount of work and studying I have to do. So, with three years of finals-taking under my belt, I have compiled a list of tricks and tips to destress and stay sane this finals season.


  1. Get off campus.

Almost every time I find myself stressing out and feeling in a funk, as soon as I get off campus it’s like a weight has been lifted from my chest. Just getting downtown and walking to a cafe to do more work helps me immensely. Hannah Machiorlete ’20 enjoys studying at the Behind the Museum Cafe, which is a short walk from the Pio stop.

“The space is airy and tranquil, which makes it a great place to concentrate,” she said. “Plus, they have refreshing teas and treats for a study reward.” Even moving to a new location on campus to work can help a lot.


  1. Take a break.

On a similar note, giving your brain a breather after focusing on one thing for an extended period of time can really help. If you can get your mind off of your work for just a few minutes, you’ll be able to focus ten times better on what you’re doing and won’t feel like you want to curl up into a ball on the floor. Some great study breaks include, but are not limited to: Taking a walk around campus or even just down the hall, power napping, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, exercising, calling friends or family and seeing friends who might also need a short study break.

Leah de Beer ’22 likes to walk down to the estate gardens for her study breaks.

“I make a cup of tea and then go sit on the wall above the reflecting pool,” de Beer said.


  1. Make a schedule.

I use a bullet journal to make to-do lists for myself and map out big projects and paper topics in an organized manner. My friend maps out his week visually on sticky notes.

Making a schedule and daily to-do lists for yourself can help you stay on top of all your work. It’s also really satisfying to check off stuff on your lists at the end of the day, and you can brag to all your friends that you did everything already because you had a schedule to follow.

The end of the semester is always busy and stressful. All we can really do is take good care of ourselves and watch out for our friends. It will all be over soon, and then we’ll have a whole month off before coming back and doing it all over again. If nothing else, listen to the wise words of Kaitlin Wise-Carter ’20: “Try your best and you probably won’t die.”

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