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The dos and don’ts of finals week, from a graduating senior

As I approach my last round of final exams ever, I thought I’d share some parting wisdom with all you younglings who lack the experience and academic achievement that yours truly has on how to properly ace your finals. I’d mention my GPA for credibility, but I’m more of the modest type. So, here are some things you should and should NOT do while studying.

1. DON’T study in your bed

Did I write 90% of my Master’s thesis in my bed? Yes. But do as I say, not as I do. The coziness is temporary, but the neck and back problems I’ve incurred while doing so are permanent. And so are your grades, which won’t benefit from you falling asleep in bed and waking up at 11 p.m. disoriented without having even made a dent in your workload.

2. DO put your phone on do not disturb

My phone is permanently on this because I hate being bothered by other people, but it really does help your focus to not have your phone buzzing every time that guy you matched with on Hinge snaps you or one of Miami’s hundred different email chains hits your inbox.

3. DON’T tell yourself, “It’s common sense”

It’s certainly not. If you’re taking a statistics or chemistry final, nothing about that exam will feel like “common sense” when you go to take it. It will feel like nonsense if you don’t study, and it’ll be common sense for your professor to flunk you.

4. DO get actual sleep

Celsius is not a replacement for REM. Your brain needs sleep to transfer short-term memories to long-term ones, so if you’d like to remember anything from the courses costing you thousands of dollars, make sure to catch some Zs. If anxiety is keeping you up, opt for my preferred combo: melatonin and Sleepytime tea.

5. DON’T constantly complain

I don’t care whether you’re a physics major who has to split the atom for your final or an English major who has to write a novel by tomorrow, I promise you no one wants to hear about it. A quote I live by is, “Life is hard and then you die.” It’s not a quote everyone likes to hear, but it does apply to everyone.

6. DON’T view exams as life or death

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It’s not that deep, I promise you. Even if you get a 30%, the world will keep spinning. Try to relax and not put too much pressure on yourself. You’ll probably perform better without feeling like the fate of the universe depends on whether you know how to do matrix algebra.

Well, there you have it. Just do these things, and you’ll be fine. As one final little pro tip, pick some hard-core music to listen to when you walk to your final. My personal favorites are the “Oppenheimer” and “Succession” theme songs, but do whatever makes you start swaggering all cool-like to class. Of course, it’s embarrassing to do that and then bomb the exam (speaking from personal experience here), so use at your own risk.