Your 101 Guide to Surviving College Finals


Well Gophers, it’s officially that time. The final stretch of the semester has us all experiencing a mixture of relief and panic over the coming days. With finals exams and experiences fast approaching, here are 10 tips to get you to the end of the semester. 

1.  Don’t Burn The Midnight Oil

It’s essentially tradition for college students to pull all-nighters a few times over the semester, but let’s invite ourselves to embrace some modernity. Your studying will be just as productive, if not more, if you go to bed at a reasonable time and resume in the morning. Remember that the average young adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per every 24 hours (according to the CDC). Not only will you be less tired but your brain functions better when it’s well rested. 

2. Eat like it’s Thanksgiving again 

Just like neglecting your sleep, it’s easy to forget and skip meals this time in the academic year. Let’s all picture a nagging grandmother on our shoulders who is chastising us for not eating enough. Three meals a day and a few snacks will keep you and your study brain happy and healthy. Bring your laptop into Mary Fisher or Alice’s in the afternoon. Splurge on a croissant at a cafe to read and re-read (and re-re-read) your thesis. Throw some vegetables and fruit in there for some brain boosting power. 

3. Call someone special

Finals week is a time where added support is necessary, call your mom or facetime your dog. Meet up with your friends and bare through the Towson cold for some social enrichment. Talking to someone that isn’t your professor or project mate can and will make you de-stress. 

4. Take a hike 

Maybe not literally, for those of us who are not that athletically inclined, but go on a walk. Act like we’re at the height of the pandemic again and go on a Hot Girl Walk around campus – it’s not just limited to the girls. Campus is beautiful this time of year, and when we return it will be a lovely shade of Maryland gray, so take advantage while you can. 

5. Utilize office hours

Your professors are here for two reasons: a paycheck, and your education. Not only will going to office hours help answer all of your questions (yes, even the “stupid ones”) but it will help your overall relationship with them in the long run. They’re more likely to help you out if they like you. 

6. Hit the road, Jack.

Get out of your dorm! A change of scenery could be just what you need. Just when your eyes are starting to glaze over, hunker down in the common rooms with your friends, or sit in one of the many study spots in the Ath. 

7. Work smarter, not harder.

Time to break out your syllabus from the beginning of the semester. Comb through and calculate what you need to do to get the maximum grade, with minimum stress. Now is the time to pay less attention to things worth five percent of your overall grade and more attention to the things that will make or break you passing the class. Shifting your priorities may make your load lighter, and your studying easier. 

8. Treat yourself

Sit in the sun. Buy that item on a holiday sale. Use your good pens. Play The Sims instead of perusing JSTOR. Round up your dining dollars for a chocolate bar or try a green tea matcha from Alice’s. You deserve it. 

9. Dress for success

According to Business Insider, dressing for success actually works. At the minimum, make sure you’re not neglecting your basic hygiene just so you can read another chapter. Get up and get showered and brushed, then dress for acing your finals – whether that be wearing your favorite sweats or a full suit for presentations. 

10. Remember that grades don’t define who we are

Grades, just like the number in your bank account or your credit score do not define us as people. You are just as worthy and deserving of good things regardless of how your finals turn out. You’re going to do great, and if you don’t, celebrate yourself afterwards anyway.

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Nia (she/her) is a junior and Opinion Editor at The Q. She is an International Relations Major from Millersville, MD. Outside of The Q, she is a choreographer for the Goucher Dancers of Color Coalition (DOCC) and a singer for the Goucher Choral Society. She has had work published in the Maryland Theatrical Guide and was the former Opinion Editor for the Elm. Nia currently works for Warby Parker and has a podcast called Wisegal Podcast (@wisegapod on Instagram).

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