The procrastinator’s guide to exam success

Nick Harvey and Nick Harvey

Well, its finals week…again. Time to get organized, get stressed and get our learn on. In preparation for finals week, I’m not going to harp on ways to avoid stress. I won’t suggest using in-depth study techniques or condemn waiting until the last minute to study. That’s all been done before.

Instead, I want to suggest procrastinating, pulling all-nighters and stressing out. That’s what finals week is all about: Overconsumption of Monster M-80s and hair loss.

I used to be ahead of the game on finals week. If my test was over World War II, my notes would be neatly typed out way ahead of time and I would make sure I knew everything. I would know how Hitler liked his toast, what size slacks he wore and the method he used for keeping his mustache that perfect rectangular shape. Then my friend, Sean Bauer, taught me the way of the procrastinator and I have never looked back.

I learned that as important as things like advanced chemistry and the fall of the Roman empire are, there is no need to waste the entire last week before break thinking about electrons and Romulus Augustus. Getting one last chance to hang out with friends before winter break or graduation is what’s important. For those graduating, it is a last chance to tie up loose ends and hang out with friends before graduating and scattering across the country like a slow motion prison break. It is better to spend finals week hanging out with friends and making nice fuzzy memories. Options for finals week distractions include getting some people together and going to see a movie, hitting the bars or even taking up curling.

For my finals week, I am considering doing several things. I might go out to eat with friends or see if anyone wants to go bowling. At some point, I plan on continuing a Christmas tradition: Drinking beer with friends while watching the claymation version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Watching Yukon Cornelius duke it out with The Bumble has always been a good distraction, especially because my parents taped it in the 1980s when commercials featured actors in jean jackets with big hair.

Too many people freak out about finals week and end up studying all week long. Where’s the fun in that? With our first snow on the ground, it would be hard for me to say, “Don’t take a lunch tray from dining services, don’t grease up the bottom of that tray for added velocity, then, definitely don’t place it at the top of the golf course hill and sit on it. Let someone else do that, you have studying to do.”

On finals week we are given more free time than usual, so spend time studying only when it is absolutely necessary and waste the rest doing something dumb, exciting and memorable, even if that means multiple all-nighters to catch up on studying. In my experiences during finals week, this one being my ninth, I have found that pulling all-nighters can actually lead to a greater sense of relief and accomplishment after the finals are over.

Going home for break unrested, malnourished and wound-up tighter than a pair of jeans after Thanksgiving is what breaks are all about. They are placed after finals week for the same reason Sunday mornings follow Saturday nights. In other words, breaks are for recovery. After all the finals week stress, there is nothing like settling down at home with an actual meal and finally being able to take some post finals mental Exlax.

Of course, waiting too long to begin studying results in bad grades and nobody wants that. However, by using time wisely during finals week, there can be plenty of time for studying and friends. As for sleep deprivation, there is plenty of time to catch up on sleep over break.

Sure, college is a time to learn and study but who says it can’t be fun too? It is the last chance we have to be carefree before entering the responsibility-laden real world. This applies to the whole semester, especially finals week. This is college and most will have only one chance at it, make it interesting.