It’s the last week of class at UNC Chapel Hill and the campus is buzzing. Every year, the last day of class during the spring semester is filled with food, music, performances, and more. This celebration of the successful completion of the school year is important to a lot of students, myself included, because we wish to enter finals week feeling like we can conquer the world.
I think a lot of schools have celebrations similar to mine at the end of the second semester, and they’re a great tool for helping students ease themselves into the most difficult week of the year. However, a lot of students do not carry the mentality of the end of year celebration into finals week. After the celebration ends, they lock themselves in the library and work on projects and papers that they have procrastinated on. In the end, all the fun is forgotten and finals week is a time of pure stress and panic.
Many surmise that happiness and confidence can translate to better test scores, as people who are less anxious and stressed have an easier time focusing during study sessions, exams, and writing workshops. Personally, I find that my test and presentation scores go up when I approach them in a relaxed state of mind.
Since I’m a firm believer in self-care practices, I’ve decided to share a list of things I like to do to bring the end of year celebration into my finals week. Hopefully, some of these practices can help other students relax as well.
- Yoga/Meditation. I love yoga and meditation during any time of the year because it’s a great way to center your mind and relax your body. I do meditation alone in my bedroom in the evenings for about 15 minutes every day, which helps me reset my brain if I need to work late into the evening. During finals week, I go to yoga classes in my college gym, especially in the afternoons between study sessions.
- Art/Crafts. There’s a reason that the adult coloring craze has taken off. It’s relaxing! Taking 30 minutes after an exam to color a picture or sketch in a sketchbook is great way to wind down before starting another project.
- Play With Animals. My campus offers therapy dogs and cats to play with in between your exam sessions. Therapy animals are often used in hospitals and retirement homes to give comfort to people, so they are also useful for people experiencing anxiety during finals. If your college campus doesn’t bring critters to you, try visiting your local animal shelter for an hour during times of stress. A lot of shelters appreciate having visitors come play with the neglected animals. You’ll leave feeling comforted and you’ll have helped out an animal in need (But don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to adopt a puppy afterward).
- Go Enjoy Nature. If it’s a nice day outside, I strongly suggest that you go out and get some Vitamin D via time in the sunshine. Vitamin D gives you more energy, which is obviously important during exam season. If I know I’m going to have a late night, I might choose to walk places more often or study outside for an hour in order to give myself a boost.
- Listen To Music. In a previous post I talked about the importance of a great confidence playlist. I like to pull my confidence playlist out twice as often during my finals week. I listen to it in the shower, when I get ready for the day, on the way to the library, and on the way to exams. The songs make me feel happy and excited which allows me to go into each task feeling like I can handle anything.
- Have a Dinner Party. This is one of my favorite finals week traditions. Every year, my friend group picks one night during finals week to all make and eat dinner together. Socializing helps everyone feel happier – especially because it gives us a chance to vent about the struggles of finals week! It’s simply a nice way to take a break, laugh together, and eat good food. It’s just a bonus that we all tend to feel good the next day going into exams and presentations.