Self-Care Tips to Succeed During Finals Week

iStudent Blog

Published: November 27, 2022 by Kesheena Doctor

One of the most hectic times of a student’s life is finals week. As an iSchool student in a graduate program, I have many responsibilities outside of school that I am responsible for, as I’m sure you do as well.  

These obligations can build up and cause a lot of stress, which events like finals week only worsen. However, there are ways to minimize stressors, though, and I’d like to share some strategies I use to help prioritize my self-care during hectic times.

Planning Ahead for Finals Week 

One of the best things you can do during finals week is to plan ahead. For example, at the beginning of your semester, review your syllabus and note any big projects and overlapping deadlines so you can plan accordingly. I made a calendar with all my due dates for assignments, work schedules, bill payments and personal plans, so everything was in one place. If some days or weeks seemed heavily loaded, I would try to move more flexible appointments to other times. If you are working and your job allows it, I would also recommend taking time off as critical deadlines, such as a big assignment or finals, are approaching. Also, let friends know you are not available during this time and make arrangements with your family to give you as much free time as possible. Lastly, meal prepping for finals can also be a huge time saver and ensure you are having healthy meals that will keep you energized while studying.

Time Management 

When planning for finals week, it’s very important to know your work style. Do you like to procrastinate and finish assignments at the last minute? Do you need lots of time to process information before you write assignments? Are you better at meeting deadlines if you have to be accountable to a group? Knowing your work style can help you maximize your time. If you like to work with others, get to know classmates and form a virtual study group. If you tend to procrastinate on assignments, try to clear your calendar before assignments are due so you have more time to work. Being honest with yourself about how much time you need to complete assignments is essential to time management. If you do have issues with meeting deadlines, there are many tools to help minimize distractions. For example, placing your devices on a focus setting so you’re not tempted to scroll social media instead of writing a paper can help clear distractions. If you don’t like sitting for long periods, consider taking a walk before studying, which can help you be more focused and productive. The Pomodoro Technique is another great tool to help you focus. Just remember, to stick with your study goals and persistence will help you finish your paper or presentation.

Setting Boundaries During Finals Week 

One of the best ways to minimize stress is to set clear boundaries, which are important to set for yourself as well as for friends and family. Often boundaries are poor or nonexistent when it comes to loved ones, who we may feel obligated to expend ourselves much further than we are able. Setting clear expectations of what you can give during this time is a healthy way to deal with the stress family and friends may place on you with their needs.

Setting boundaries at work is also a good idea during finals or at any time. If you can, take a day off so you can concentrate on your homework. If you cannot take time off, let your supervisor know of your school schedule and request not to be given extra duties during this time. Also, make sure you leave work duties at work. Don’t be tempted to open work emails or look over work tasks when you are off the clock. Though some jobs may require you to be on-call and you aren’t able to leave work communication unanswered, trying to set some boundaries with work expectations is advised.

Self-Care During Finals Week

At the beginning of the semester, I made a list of my favorite forms of self-care, so I had something to refer to when I needed suggestions. I also made a list of my common stressors so I could avoid them, if possible. Lastly, I wrote down the ways I acted out stress so I could better recognize when I was stressed. Having different forms of self-care on hand is great to ensure that they continue to work for you when you need to relax. One of my biggest forms of self-care during school is meditation. I recently started using the Insight Timer app for meditation and body scans. It’s a great free tool that has an assortment of available programs for those seeking meditative self-care.

If you’re not sure where to start with self-care, SJSU offers some great wellness tools for students. YOU@SJSU offers many great resources for students who want to learn how to create better habits for themselves while in school. SJSU Also offers online Student Wellness Support for all students. If you are having a hard time, SJSU also offers counseling support for students, including iSchool students.

Good luck with finals and remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate your wins! If you have any questions or suggestions for self-care, please comment below.


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