- Great music. What’s that go-to song or album that takes you to your happy place? What’s the music that inspires you? Pack it in your kit and listen to it often.
- A laugh out loud movie. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Make plans to watch your favorite funny movie with friends as a study break.
- Food bribes. When I have a long night of work ahead, I bribe myself to sit at my desk with food treats that I would not normally allow myself to eat (like a big box of Lucky Charms dry and by the hand-full).
- A reminder of your career goal. “Harvard Law School or Bust” was the note my brother hung above his desk in college. It was a constant reminder to him of why he was studying so hard.
- SLEEP. Don’t believe the theory that you can pull “all nighters” or even sleep 2-3 hours per night and get good results. Everyone is more stressed when they are tired. Little issues become big ones. Get at least four hours of sleep a night and you’ll be more relaxed. Start studying a day or two earlier if that’s necessary to get some necessary shut eye.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is a great tool during finals — in moderation. Too much will make you jittery and make it difficult for you to concentrate. Don’t knock down Red Bull after Red Bull or a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew in one sitting. Also, stop caffeinating at least a few hours before you try to get some sleep.
- Enjoy non-sugar snacks. Any protein is great. Many experts believe that protein will help your brain function better. Sugar without protein will typically lead to “crashes” — and that will seriously diminish your ability to focus.
- Find a study place away from both friends and classmates. There’s nothing more stressful than when people bother you when you’re trying to study. This is not a social time. Do not do what works for your roommate. Do what works for you. You can be social after finals. Also, classmates who want you to “tutor” them or to borrow your notes are not your primary concern so will drive your stress level higher if you must deal with them.