10 Ways to Handle Finals Stress

Hey there fellow DePaulians. Long time no talk! Schoolwork has completely taken over my life, as it usually does for students about to embark towards the dreaded monster known as “Finals Week.” It’s such an oxymoron, isn’t it? We have this week of finals, but then right after, we’re free for 7 weeks. Hello Winter Break! Here’s the thing though: with finals week just around the corner, it’s important to not let stress take over. I know what you’re thinking — “Just saying I shouldn’t be stressed doesn’t help.” I know that! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of ways to help keep the stress at bay. Here’s 10 ways to handle finals stress:

  1. First and Foremost, Don’t Procrastinate
    • Yes, it may sound like a good idea at the time to crack open the good ol’ Netflix account and watch that next episode of Scandal, but let’s be honest here: that 7 page lab report that’s due in three days isn’t going to write itself. If you’re not down to do the entire thing, I don’t blame you, but at least get some of it done!
  2. Make a Study Playlist
    • Make a study playlist that’s actually going to help you get stuff done. Yeah, you can jam out, but work while you’re jamming! That’s my favorite way to write papers.
  3. Set Rewards for Yourself
    • “Ok self, if you make these flashcards and go through them once, I’ll reward you with this pack of M&M’s.” Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? It is.
  4. Change up Your Atmosphere
    • This one’s important — sometimes studying in a super quiet library or in your dorm room isn’t the best route to go. For some people it is, but for me personally, it isn’t. I don’t know about you, but being in super quiet places when I’m trying to study actually stresses me out more. Head over to a coffee shop, enjoy those coffee aromas, outline that paper, and get a latte while you’re at it!
  5. Try to be Positive
    • Sure, finals are next week and you’re totally and completely stressed beyond belief, but think about going home and enjoying the holidays right after that for 7 whole weeks.
  6. Take Things One Step at a Time
    • Don’t try to do everything all at once; you’ll only end up being more stressed. Make a list of everything you have to get done and prioritize – get the hard stuff out of the way first and get the easier stuff done later!
  7. Stay Focused
    • Yeah, making a study playlist is going to help, but don’t get caught up doing that. What I mean by this is don’t dedicate three hours of your life to make this the perfect study playlist; stay focused on what you came here to do (and that’s to get work done!)
  8. Take Breaks
    • This one’s tricky. Definitely take breaks (you don’t want to over-stress) but don’t do them for too long. Before you know it, you’ll be on the weird side of Youtube and it’ll be midnight and you’ll realize you haven’t even finished your introduction to that history paper yet. I recommend 10-15 minute breaks – not too long but still enough time to relax!
  9. Drink Some Tea
    • This helps for some people, especially if you’re a tea drinker. I’ve heard Lavender, California Poppy, and Chamomile are especially effective for reducing stress.
  10. Know That You Can Do This!
    • Yes, looking at finals week like it’s this huge, scary task is most everyone’s go-to route, but that only leads to more anxiety. When you view it as something that can be broken down and done relatively easily, you can definitely get through it. You can do this. I believe in you.

Good luck out there, guys! You’ve totally got this.


Keep Calm and Study On

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It’s hard to believe that the end of the quarter is upon us which means another set of finals is right around the corner. In this stressful time it’s important to take a few minutes to de-stress. Though it may not feel as if there’s any time for ourselves, even just a few minutes away from reading, making flash cards, or writing that paper can help.

Everyone has their own ways of de-stressing but here are some recommendations ways to keep yourself calm.

1. Get a stress ball.

I sometimes forget I have one, but I keep it at my desk to release some tension. Because studying mostly involves sitting in a chair, I try to stand up and stretch my legs every so often as well. If you’re working on a computer, remember to look away from the screen at least once for every hour working.

2. Listen to some calming music.

Or upbeat music, or just your favorite song in general. Right now, Claude Debussy’s Prelude to ‘Afternoon of a Faun’ is my favorite de-stressing song. The first time I heard it I could literally feel the stress and anxiety melt off. I know it sounds a little weird, but I was in such a better mood when the song ended. Plus, this Fantasia-like sequence that goes along with it is pretty cool.

3. Exercise!

I know it may not feel as if you have time, but exercise releases those feel-good endorphins. Plus the Ray is open 5:30 am – 11:30 pm so it doesn’t matter if you’re an early bird or night owl!

4. Laugh.

Whether it’s an episode of your favorite comedy show on Netflix, a youtube video of your favorite stand-up comedian, or browsing BuzzFeed (Have you seen 37 People Who Are Worse At Cooking Than You? It’s hilarious), laughter truly is the best medicine. Those feel-good endorphins are released again and who doesn’t like those?

Best of luck! Lastly, here is a video about finals week.

November 15, 2012

Ah, finals week. It happens 3 times a year and each time is always stressful. I love that the library is open for 24 hours, but sometimes I need a change of scenery. Check out some places to get your study on as well as a nice cup of coffee.

  • Panera. I LOVE Panera. In the winter months I love to get soup in a bread bowl. The employees are super nice and it feels like homey. There are a few scattered throughout the city. In Lincoln Park you can find one at 616 West Diversey & 2070 North Clybourn Avenue. If you are downtown, there is one in the University Center building at 501 South State Street and another at 2 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Julius Meinl. My friends introduced me to this place my Junior year. It’s north of Lincoln Park, but I recommend taking the trip if you’ve never been. It has a lot of delicious desserts and is open until 10 pm Sunday-Thursday & until 11 Friday-Saturday. Off the Southport Brown line, this Austrian bakery and cafe is located at 3601 N. Southport. IMPORTANT NOTE: They only have free wi-fi Monday-Friday!
  • The Bourgeois Pig Cafe. This delicious sandwich spot was recommended to me my freshman year by my Discover Chicago mentor. I went there fairly early in the quarter and fell in love with its cozy atmosphere. As a tour guide, I always refer people there for lunch after the 11:00 tour ends. You get 2 free hours of wi-fi with a purchase which may be annoying to some, but to me, it helps me get stuff done. If I don’t want the internet to distract me, I won’t ask for the internet code so I can’t get online to check Facebook “for just a second.”
  • Intelligentsia. A favorite of my friend, this coffee place is based in Chicago. Intelligentsia has a location downtown across from Millenium Park (53 East Randolph St.). If you’re not downtown you can find another in Lakeview at 3123 North Broadway.
  • The Wormhole Coffee. Do you live in Wicker Park/want to explore a new neighborhood? Then The Wormhole is for you! This popular hipster cafe can be found at 1462 N. Milwaukee (between Evergreen Ave & Honore St). They are open a little bit later than most, closing at 11 pm. My favorite part about this place is that they serve delicious treats from Fritz Bakery.
  • Coffee Studio. Want to venture north of Lincoln Park & Lakeview? This Andersonville coffee shop (5628 North Clark Street) is open from 6:30 am-9 pm everyday. It made the “The Best Coffee Shops in the U.S.” list by Delish.com and “Where to Drink Coffee” list by Serious Eats.
  • Loose Leaf Lounge. I haven’t made it to this tea cafe, but it’s been on my list of places to go and is recommended by a fellow campus tour guide. Located in Lakeview at 2915 North Broadway, it’s supposed to have pretty reliable wi-fi. Check out their calendar for special events like open mics and “The Funny Story Show.”
  • Next Door Cafe: This place fills up quickly, so if you are an early bird this might be the place for you. You can find this community cafe at 659 W Diversey. They are open from 7 am-10 pm every day! Just don’t let the nearby shops (Akira, Express, and Urban Outfitters) distract you!
  • Dollop Coffee and Tea. If you were a fan of Noble Tree Cafe on Clark, don’t fret about it’s closing (I just found out it closed and added it to the “mourning” list which includes Big Stuff and Savor the Flavor). Apparently Dollop is owned by the Noble Tree owners and they serve Metropolis coffee, Hoosier Mamma Pies, and baked goods from Southport grocery. You can find this place at 4181 N Clarendon Ave.
  • Kickstand Coffee. Live by the Belmont stop? This cafe is in your neighborhood at 824 W. Belmont! Open from 9 am-9 pm every day, this small coffee shop “sticks out like a needle in a haystack.” Just make sure ask for a wi-fi access card when you get your beverage.
  • Whole Foods Lincoln Park. Going to a grocery store might not sound like a great place to study, but there is that 2nd floor loft. Plus they have so many delicious snacks in their bakery section. If you are a foodie, there might be too many distractions, but if you want a milkshake while you study, this could be the place for you. The Whole Foods on 1550 N. Kingsbury Street is open from 8am to 10pm seven days a week.

Follow our hashtag #DPUfinals for inspiration, study tips, and more! Good luck everyone & have a great Thanksgiving!! We will be taking next week off but check back the week of November 26!