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Students listen to their lecture in Budig Hall.

Finals week begins in 10 days, 14 hours and 17 minutes (as of publishing this article), ending the fall 2022 semester at the University of Kansas.

Students have many habits and strategies when it comes to the formidable task of completing the fall semester successfully. Throughout campus, some students can be found buried in projects and assignments, cramming for final exams and living off three hours of sleep and energy drinks; while others have no more than three hours of work a day, get eight hours of sleep and walk into their finals with confidence.

So, how do students finish their fall semester strong without compromising their mental health and comfort in the process?

For Carol Holstead, an associate professor of journalism, the key to succeeding at any daunting task, such as finals week, is creating a realistic plan and sticking to it regardless of if students have a week or a month to prepare.

“I just look at the next week and make a plan for every day,” Holstead said.

Holstead also advises that students use delayed gratification to stick to their plan. She said that delaying when she sits down to watch an episode of TV or eat dinner in order to complete tasks gives her additional motivation.

“One thing that you have to do is be realistic, because if you think, ‘well I can get this done in one day,’ and your teacher has been telling you consistently that this is not a one-day project, then don’t count on that,” Holstead said.

Deema Al-Hihi, a senior majoring in marketing and psychology, spaces out the content she needs to learn for finals week in order to be successful.

“I find that I retain information better when I space out learning the content by studying a chapter a day leading up to the exam and then using the day/evening before the exam to review everything I have already learned,’ Al-Hihi said.

For Giuliana Valiente, a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, strategically recalling course content and then reviewing according to what she has trouble recalling allows her to prioritize what she should be studying.

“I usually use an empty notebook and dedicate each course a separate page, then write down everything I can remember from the course, compare that to the study guide, and go over the topics I'm not able to recall from memory first, and then I review the rest,” Valiente said.

Many students find it helpful to vary the locations where they study when preparing for finals. When campus libraries or dorms become hard to focus in, or worse, boring, many students go out into the Lawrence community to find a fresh study spot.

Both Al-Hihi and Valiente enjoy studying in coffee shops.

“My favorite spot to study is definitely a quiet coffee shop, I don't stick to one, I usually walk into the place and see if it's quiet enough to settle down and get studying,” Valiente said.

Finals week is one of the most formidable and stressful experiences for students. However, Dr. Laurie Weseley, the interim director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the University, advised students to approach the end of the semester with positivity and curiosity, using this time to note what worked for them this semester and what did not.

In order to prioritize their mental health, Wesley said not to make the common mistakes students make when finals week approaches, such as not sleeping, “cramming,” and not eating nutritionally beneficial foods.

Many students find it difficult to stay grounded during finals week, but Wesley views paying attention to one’s stress levels and acting accordingly are key to surviving finals week.

“Notice when stress levels are high and take a break to work on calming down by going for a short walk, spending some time in the sunlight, or practicing deep breathing. Try to be early for exams to spend time calming oneself by doing things like deep breathing or grounding (look for five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and be aware of one thing you can taste),” Wesley said.