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Surviving Finals 101

That *wonderful* time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break can make or break a college kid. Here's how to stay sane...enough.

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So you made it through Thanksgiving break and all the family events that take place. Congrats. Now, you're faced with the most stressful, insane time of the semester-FINALS. But don't fret! These simple tips can get you through the semester AND keep you remotely functioning! *results may vary

Be prepared

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Actually attend class. Take notes. Study those notes. Ask questions. Put the time and date for your final in a calendar. Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.-Alexander Graham Bell

Use your resources

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All those tutors you see advertised? They are there to help-use them. Study groups? Yea, they work. That large building with some dead dude's name on the side? That's a library: it contains many books and quiet areas to study if you need. It's amazing what can happen when you step outside of your Netflix and pajama cave (dorm).

Stay up to date on world events

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It's easy to get lost in your own little world while at university. But, try to read a newspaper or look at a news site. It'll keep you knowledgable and in touch. Not to mention, it'll come in handy at all those gatherings coming up. "Ebola, am I right?"


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That's right-it is not only ok, but expected that you rest. All-nighters do not add to your smarts or abilities in any way. 2 p.m. on a Tuesday? NAP! Friday morning after class? NAP! Woke up from a nap? NAP AGAIN! Seriously, your bed misses you. Show it some love.

Dress for success

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Ever heard that phrase? Of course you have. Because it's true. Not saying sweats aren't ok...every once in a while. But try just waking up just 5 minutes earlier, throw on a pair of jeans and brush your teeth, and see how it impacts your day. (Not to mention, you're an insta-babe in the Sea of Sweats)

Stay healthy

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Yes, yes, Ramen is an easy and quick supper. But attempting to eat clean and exercise can play a pivotal role in surviving finals. Also, that building with the big fat crucifix is not the religious's the student health building. Use it.


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Yea, yea, this ties in to the last one, but exercise is so important to your physical, mental, and spiritual health, it deserves its own mention. There's a lot of science behind the positive effects of working out (WebMD it or something, I'm a Family Studies major) so pumping iron during finals can lead to an overall positive experience. PLUS YOU'LL LOOK HOT AND WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!

Watch the bank

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Along with school, it's that time of year where anyone and everyone throws a "Secret Santa" party and the family has a Christmas list a mile long (or Hanukkah list...I'm not quite sure how that works, sorry!) But you have to watch those pennies! Homemade gifts, antique stores, shoot, even Goodwill can provide some interesting and fun gifts. Explore your options! Remember, it's the thought that counts. (And if someone has a problem with that, they probably don't deserve a gift from a broke college kid).

Make time for friends...

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...and "friends". You cannot sacrifice your social and love life for a test. You just can't. If someone suggests grabbing coffee, go for it! Your friends are having a Disney marathon? Throw on them Mickey footie pajamas and sing "A Whole New World" at the top of your lungs. Be sure to study and be prepared for your tests, but don't alienate loved ones and hide in your room for 2 weeks. Remember: it's all about balance.

Walk into a test with confidence

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Stepping in the class with your head held high and a relaxed demeanor can drastically alter your attitude towards the daunting final ahead of you. I'm speaking from experience. If you walk in calmly, review your notes for a few minutes, and clear your mind, you'll be amazed at how comfortable you feel while testing. Quiz those around you to get a few more tidbits of knowledge crammed in there. IT REALLY HELPS.

Celebrate a job well done!

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All of that preparation, all those early mornings and late nights, the cramming, the tears, the confusion, the "aha!" moments-YOU DESERVE A PARTY. When tests are done, do something for you! Grab the gang and hit up the local bars (if you're of age) or go to a something that brings you joy. YOU EARNED IT!

Say "goodbye" to people before you leave

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After all those tests are smashed (because you followed my tips...), it's time to pack up and ship out for a month of holiday festivities. But, before you crank those tunes and hit the highway, tell your friends goodbye. Seems stupid, but it will seem like an eternity before you are reunited with the amigos. Keep in touch over break, too. Your friends are a part of your family.

Enjoy the holidays

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You've made it. Whether it's your first semester at college or you're ready to graduate, each semester brings a unique set of challenges, and finishing that race is a huge accomplishment. Now it's time to chillax and refresh, you'll need it for spring! Drink all the eggnog, eat candy canes until you're sick, and get outside to build a snowman (hey, you're never too old to enjoy the season!) YOU DID IT.

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