It’s finals week, and already someone told me they hate me. Wednesday and Thursday were reading days, and I spent a total of maybe five hours studying. I went Latin dancing, got some free end-of-the-year food, went out for ice cream, watched some TV, applied for a couple jobs, and hung out with the homies. On Friday (the first day of finals), I went to work, watched some tennis, ate Korean food, and then quoted Napoleon Dynamite. So you can say that my finals week began pretty dang well.
Saturday I took two tests—one completely open note and one basically-the-study-guide. Because of all that, people told me they hate me.
Why does everyone hate finals week? Because it’s a week of cramming the whole semester into your 12-hour short-term memory. On top of that, people usually forget to eat and sleep during this week too. And eating and sleeping are the good stuff. So people are missin’ out.
But guess what? You’ll probably do better on your tests if you aren’t stressed. HA. Are you laughing? Because I’m not.
Here’s what I’ve learned about stress: it can get worse. If you eat, sleep, and exercise, then you’ll preform a lot better. Sure, there are constraints on study time, but if you take care of your body, your mind will be more alert and effective when you do go to take that monster test.
Or you could be the monster. “If I don’t sleep or eat, I’m a monster,” said me every day of my life. My stepmom will attest to that.
Various studies have shown that daily “stressors” have physical and emotional effects on our ability to function. Think about the movie She’s the Man. Viola’s soccer team got the boot, so she walked home with her hoodie up while listening to a melodramatic song. Her hoodies made her physically look like her brother from the back and her cathartic-sounding song let her continue in her mope-ery.
Okay, getting to the important stuff. How do we get our stress levels under control so we can test better?
3 Tips to Stay on Top of Finals
In a study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Birte von Haaren and colleagues found that exercise reduced students’ stress levels when they were given an academic exam.
Take a run. Maybe you’ll find a zombie to chase you. That’s what I call motivation.
You’re welcome. You now have permission to take an hour-long study break to do a dance workout.
- Eat Good Food
Is it really necessary for me to convince you of this one? Food is good. Eat it.
In a recent Scientific American Mind article, “The Best Diet for Your Brain,” Bret Stetka explains a study the proved that eating healthy can improve your mood. When our mood is improved, our stress doesn’t seem too bad.
You eat that watermelon girlfriend, eat!
The other day I was working and I thought I was going to throw up and then pass out. After I ate, I was fine. Point and case.
In a University of Texas research article, “Sleep: An Important Factor in Stress-Health Models,” Benham states, “Research demonstrates that higher psychological stress is related to shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality.”
But it also states that the correlation is “far from perfect.” So there’s that.
How we sleep so we can do good on those tests and stuffs.
But we’ve all been that student that is taking notes while falling asleep. When we go to review our notes next time, all we see are squiggles on the page. Then we’re stressed because we only have two hours until the exam, and we have no clue what we’re supposed to know from that one lecture.
If that doesn’t tell you that sleep can help you avoid being stressed out, well…I’m sorry.
So enjoy life a little during finals week. It could benefit you in the end. Peace out.
In the words of Kip.