Slice of nice: Dec 15, 2011
Taylor’s Slice of Nice is a semester-long recurring column that focuses on good things happening around the globe and takes a look at how we can implement them locally.
What they’re cooking up:
College students all over the country are facing finals this month, and many have cooked up tips for not only surviving this demanding time but performing your best while doing so. As my holiday gift to you, I’ve compiled the best of these tips into one all-inclusive Finals Survival Guide.
How it can be homemade:
Know how you study best. Not everyone can concentrate in a dead-silent, fluorescent-lit library, and others may struggle with studying in their room, with the ever-present distractions of Netflix, roommates and the welcoming look of your pillow.
Personally, I know that I study best with a table all to myself piled high with study materials and an endless supply of coffee at Racy D’Lene’s Coffee Lounge. The environment is much more relaxed than that of the high-stress library, the lighting much more flattering and I like the soft din of the espresso machine and clink of coffee cups.
Schedule your week. Note, of course, when your finals are, and build in study time accordingly. Budget several hours for each class, giving more time to more difficult courses and be sure to pepper in some study breaks. Whether that break is a 10-minute walk or a two-hour movie (I recommend comedies to eliminate stress through a good laugh), be sure to give yourself some time away
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Choose protein-rich foods like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or almonds because they’re full of healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied longer, omitting the possible distraction of a grumbling stomach. If you need a quick perk-up, caffeine or sugar will do the trick, but choose wisely: Foods with natural glucose, like fruit, will make you more alert but not slow you down later, like artificial sugars found in candy and energy drinks will.
Don’t ditch your exercise routine just because its finals week. Going for a run will eliminate restlessness and refresh your mind, helping you to focus while you’re studying. If exercising isn’t part of your normal routine, a 10-minute walk outside will get you moving and clear your mind for better focus once you’re back inside hitting the books.
If you’re going to pull an all-nighter, there is a right way to do it. I should start by pointing out that no one recommends staying up all night and all-nighters should be used as a last resort or worst case scenario only. Caffeine is undeniably helpful, but too much will make you jittery and restless. Water is better — cold water will keep you alert without the shaky side effects of too much coffee. The other key ingredient for an all-nighter is fresh air, so crack open your window. This is especially helpful in winter, when the cold air will help keep you awake.
Lastly, say it with me, get some sleep. If you know you can function well on four hours, fine, but if you need a solid eight hours, don’t deny yourself that for the sake of studying. You’ve heard it before (and rolled your eyes every time, I’m sure): “Make sure you get plenty of Z’s if you want to get those A’s!”
Taylor Kuether is a junior print journalism major and Editorial Editor at The Spectator.