14 ways to lose Your mind during finals (and 14 ways to get it back!)


Photo credit: Abigail Dougherty

Emma Foster, Staff Writer

14 Ways to Lose Your Mind During Finals


1.) Reorganize your closet by color, item type, cloth type, knit, size, brand, where/how you got it, the stage in your life when you acquired this item, the level of attachment you feel towards it, and time of day you typically wear it.

2.) Clip your nails and hangnails, then file them down and add splatter paint nail polish.

3.) Wait until the very last minute to start your math review, then once you finish the first problem go get yourself ice cream. You deserve it.

4.) Watch a puppy video with Sarah Mclachlan music in the background. Realize that you can’t adopt them all. Cry while eating aforementioned ice cream.

5.) Write sad song lyrics on your arms with sharpie.

6.) Draft emails to all of your teachers requesting an extension on your final project.

7.) Draft emails to all your group members in the final project reminding them of how little they have contributed.

8.) Delete all the drafts. You don’t want to be that student or that group member.

9.) Realize that your room is a mess.


10.) Empty out all your rubrics and test reviews on to the existing stack of random assignments you’ve gotten back.

11.) Create a Pinterest account and pin all of the things you want to bake during winter break.

12.) Spend an hour or so on your favorite online shop. Put everything in your shopping cart you could ever want.

13.) Realize that you can’t bake and/or don’t have enough money to buy all of the cute clothes in the world. Let out a brief wail.

14.) Decide you’ll be productive (for real, I swear) tomorrow.




14 Ways to Get it Back

1.) Organize your study spaceClutter can overwhelm you and make you want to just lie down and forget about all your responsibilities. Just putting all of those rubrics into folders based on class and putting dirty socks in the laundry could clear your mind and help you focus.

2.) Make a concrete schedule. If you know you have a soccer game until 10 PM on Thursday, don’t plan to do your entire math review then. Figure out when you have time to study, then set realistic goals for what you can get done in that time. Instead of saying “I’ll study history for an hour on Monday” say “I’ll review terms for unit 1 and summarize chapter notes 1-3.” This will make your life so much easier.


3.) Plan your breaks rather than watching episodes of The Office in between each essay paragraph. The Pomodoro technique works great for this: spend 25 minutes working, then take a 5 minute break. This keeps you focused and working towards those five sweet minutes of brain-break. There’s even an app for it!

4.) Move to a different place without distractions. Sitting at home with siblings running around can be chaotic and stressful. Go to the nearest coffee shop, public library, or a friend’s house where your home responsibilities aren’t slapping you in the face all the time so you can focus on studying. Changing location can also help you retain information better.

5.) Install a website blocker until you’ve done what you set out to do. This works well if you just can’t stop opening a new tab to Facebook, Twitter, tumblr etc. every time you hit a lull. Stay Focusd and Cold Turkey are great for this. These applications block distracting websites while you’re working.

6.) Flashcards! I’ve survived my AP classes so far largely because of Quizlet. Often memorizing terms can be super boring, but you need to know them for tests. Quizlet makes it easy and fun to cement vocabulary into your brain, and there’s a super nice app for it. Lots of ARS students have extensive Quizlet accounts, so perhaps someone has made flashcard sets for the classes you’re taking.

7.) Make study groups. Often teachers offer extra credit for these, so you kill two birds with one stone! Studying will better your test grade, and a few extra points are always nice. Having a group of people who want to get stuff done can be pretty motivating, too. You can make these even more fun with snacks (see #10).



8.) Go to tutoring. If you don’t understand something, ask your teacher. They’re here to help, are super duper smart, and have been through high school too (I know, shocking) so they know your struggles. They aren’t here just to torture you with group projects, I swear.

9.) Get some good tunes going. Familiar music can distract you, but ambient noise or unfamiliar music can help you stay on task. 8tracks has some great playlists, and noisli is my favorite website for ambient noises.

10.) Work out and eat right. I know, this has been shoved down our throats since 6th grade, but it really does help. Exercising can clear your head, even if it’s just stretching in between study sessions. Fuel for your brain makes it all the more powerful as well.

11.) Don’t cram or pull all-nighters. Even if you’ve procrastinated until the very last minute, this will usually backfire. Sleep is incredibly important for your brain to work, and you can’t take finals without your brain. Trust me, I’ve been there. By the time your eyes are drooping shut, you’ve done all you can do anyway, and those last few hours before the test aren’t going to make you an expert on the subject.



12.) Surround yourself with positivity rather than pessimism. It’s easy to think “I’m going to fail, oh well” and put off studying another day. However, it can make a huge difference if you remind yourself about why you want to do well in your classes. If you’re feeling down, write down the reason you want to succeed on sticky notes and put them around your study space (inspiration).

13.) Realize that finals week isn’t a time for perfectionism. It may seem like it is, but finals are really just to see if you’ve learned anything this semester (and you have, I swear). If you slip up on your schedule, it’s not the end of the world. If you’re doing your best, you’re doing great.

14.) Just start. This is the hardest part, but once you’ve got going, it’s easier to keep going (inertia, anyone?). Here are some motivational gifs to get you through it. Also, a pep talk.