Do: give yourself a head start on all your exams and papers. Your future self would thank you if that were at all possible.
Don’t: procrastinate. The night before your research paper is due is not the time to finally look at the prompt. I know what you’re thinking; one page is about 700 words. If I type 50 words a minute, I’ll be done with this eight-paged paper in about 2 hours. Mavis Beacon knew this day would come! But, no matter how thoroughly mama Mavis trained you in the art of speed–typing, we both know damn well that no amount of coffee or tears will save you.
Do: Get *some* sleep. No paper is worth becoming perpetually nocturnal.
Don’t: let sleep deprivation turn your brain into mush. There is a point where you’re just too tired to produce quality work. Through your sleep–deprived eyes, that paper looks like a Monet. But to the well–rested, it looks more like a knock–off Jackson Pollock.
Do: allow yourself breaks. In the middle of the finals grind, it’s okay to take a quick nap, have a chat with the Matthew Vassar statue, or just streak across campus screeching.
Don’t: break longer than you work. If you have only been studying for five minutes, you are not entitled to watch Netflix for three hours. House Of Cards will not actually help you write your poli–sci paper.
Do: go to library. This tip doesn’t apply to the few freaks of nature who can work in their room without somehow getting distracted or falling victim to your bed’s unspoken “Netflix and chill” request. But for the rest of you mere mortals, the library is the place to be during finals week if you want to get anything done.
Don’t: camp out in the library for all of finals week. You know who these people are. You leave the library in the wee hours of the night, they’re there. You come back at the ass crack of dawn, they’re still there—in the same position, wearing the same clothes, smelling slightly of urine. And then there are those who take “camping out” quite literally. I’m sure your fellow students won’t appreciate having to climb over your sleeping bag, tent and camp stove just to get to a book. The 24–hour section isn’t going anywhere. Go back and cope with finals like the rest of us—by crying quietly to yourself in the shower.
Do: go to study groups. As an anti–social hermit crab who likes working alone, I have to say study groups can be extremely helpful. Everyone can quiz each other, compare notes or just find solidarity in the fact you all have no idea what the fuck is going on.
Don’t: mooch, leech or resemble any other type of parasite. Seriously, don’t be that kid who’s made zero effort in class and only comes to the study group because they didn’t take notes the entire semester. That’s like drowning and trying to clamber into someone else’s life boat after you’ve already refused a life jacket.
Do: know that you’re going to be okay. You might wear pajama pants for the entire week. You may create your own set of expletives because existing ones do not capture the sheer magnitude of your anguish. But in the end, know that we’ll get through this.