4 tips to make the most out of dead week

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Whenever the semester nears the end, I find myself rushing to catch up on everything. From unwatched lectures to completing projects I’ve procrastinated on all semester, I’ve finally found a way to conquer all of them in time for finals. Luckily, I’ve been able to hone in on what has genuinely helped me find success during the ever-so-stressful finals season. Here are my top four tips to help you make the most out of your dead week.

Take a step back and plan

It’s easy to get caught up in prioritizing certain assignments over others to only play catch up later on. I find myself neglecting nearly every other assignment until I finally turn in my exam, but then it’s a race to the finish line to complete all the other papers and quizzes before I begin studying for my next midterm. To help combat this chaos, I’ve already planned out the last weeks of April until my very last final to ensure that not one deadline is forgotten. You can alleviate some stress by taking time to plan out your studying sessions instead of leaving it until the last week of instruction. 

Make time for the things you love

While budgeting your time during dead week is helpful for your academic success, taking care of the very person taking those exams is equally important. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to an hour of cooking up a new recipe or eating at that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Whether your definition of relaxing is watching a movie or laying out on the glade to read a book, take the time to actually do it. You’ll be more refreshed and come back to your studying with a greater mindset once you’ve taken a bit of time to unwind and boost your serotonin levels. So make sure to carve out that extra “me time” because it’s well deserved.

Exercise 

Sweating out my stress has been my go-to when it comes to feelings of school anxiety. Especially now with dead week coming up, moving my body every day is going straight to the top of my priorities. Any time I am feeling too overwhelmed or like I’ve hit a wall during my studying, I know it’s time for a break. For me, that can be anything from a five-mile run to the famous “hot girl walk,” where I solely listen to hype music, forget about all of my worries and only think of positive thoughts as I pretend to strut down a runway. Sometimes simply getting out of my chair to stretch my legs or do a child’s pose for a couple of minutes makes a world of a difference. With an entire week dedicated to just studying, making sure to get up and move around is a crucial step to avoid feelings of stress and burnout. 

Fuel your brain and body

As easy as it is to get caught up in studying, your body needs to stay fueled — not just by late-night pizza and boba runs — by unprocessed and whole foods. While junk food can be a good treat from time to time, I’ve found that they lead to brain fog and an upset stomach. Taking an extra 10 minutes to pack carrots and hummus, a veggie-filled sandwich or a yogurt parfait has helped me make the most out of my study sessions and not feel all too familiar with sugar crashes. On the other hand, I sometimes go hours without eating meals or snacks. That being said, carrying around a nonperishable snack, like a protein bar, in my backpack at all times helps tremendously for those emergencies when I’m stuck on campus and need to fuel up before heading to my next study spot. 

As you make your way into the final days of instruction, it’s important to have a game plan on how you’re going to take on each day of dead week. Of course, focusing the majority of your time on study material is key, but including a bit of non-study time is also crucial. Additionally, making sure that you distract yourself from staring at your semester’s worth of notes with healthy foods and exercise is definitely going to help you in the long run. Good luck!

Contact Isabel Espinoza at [email protected].