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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Matlock

A College Student’s Survival Guide to Finals Week

As college students, we all know that finals week and the week before are the two worst weeks of the entire semester, apart from midterms. It seems that right after getting back from Thanksgiving break, we enter an absolute warzone consisting of last-minute assignments, final portfolios and exams, and much more.

In hopes to not only encourage my fellow UAFS peers to finish this semester strong, but also to help them to keep their sanity during finals, here is a short list of things to help you to (hopefully) survive finals week:

1. Take breaks to prioritize your mental health

Finals week can result in many students doing major assignments back-to-back, leading them to develop severe anxiety, stress, and even depression due to how overwhelming homework has become. We know that you can’t do much about the influx of finals you have before you besides simply completing them, but you can take breaks.

Taking breaks in between assignments or study sessions can greatly help you to avoid burning out, as well as helping to avoid a decline in your mental health. Taking a break can simply mean just stepping away from the assignment for 30 minutes to an hour, taking a short walk outside, or even reading a few pages of a book, all just to distract your mind from all of the craziness for a bit. Your mind will thank you!

2. Make a schedule for yourself

Coming from a college student that can’t live without a planner, having a schedule for yourself during finals week is one of the best things you could possibly do.

Apart from simply listing every assignment you have due during finals week, making a schedule for the approximate time you need to work on or to complete each assignment is extremely helpful. This allows you enough time to work on the project and, hopefully, not have to rush and finish it in order to start another. This tip is also great for those who procrastinate which, let’s be honest with ourselves, is probably most of us!

3. Spend time with family and friends

Spending quality time with those that mean the most to you is another great way to prioritize your mental health during finals week. If you’re feeling down and stressed out about all of the things you have to complete before the end of the semester, there is more than likely a friend or family member you can talk it out with. Better yet, talk to any college alumni you might know, as they could give you tips to survive finals week that they used themselves!

4. Listen to music

Music has long been known to accompany people when they’re feeling happy, sad, stressed, or any other emotion. Music, in a way, provides feeling and emotion when one might not be able to do so, or know how to feel/what to say.

On music as therapy, The New York Times states, “The practice helps people cope with ailments as wide-ranging as stress, chronic pain, limited mobility and hypertension, and is performed in a variety of settings, including psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, senior centers and schools. Scientific research has begun to explore why music appears to have such a strong effect on health and wellness, particularly mental health, where sounds can serve as a conduit to lift someone’s mood, help them reflect and reduce stress, anxiety and depression”.

While working on finals, or even while taking a break between projects, turn on your favorite record or compile a playlist of your favorite calming, motivational, or happy songs, and finish the semester strong.

5. Take a break from your phone/social media

Last, but certainly not least, taking a break from social media can especially benefit you during a time as stressful as finals week. While taking your short breaks, it can be very easy just to scroll through TikTok or Instagram for 30 minutes to an hour, but it can also stress you out and/or set you off-track even more.

According to, “many of us rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram to find and connect with each other. While each has its benefits, it’s important to remember that social media can never be a replacement for real-world human connection. It requires in-person contact with others to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and make you feel happier, healthier, and more positive”.

Developing para-social relationships with people online can be nice, but developing a healthy balance between the two and spending time with family and friends in real life can greatly help to alleviate that feeling of loneliness and dependency on social media for connection.


Take advice from this list as you see fit, but, from college student-to-college student, please take care of yourselves. Your mental health during these last two weeks means more than anything– don’t forget that.

Good luck during finals week, fellow Lions. You’ve got this!


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