Pulp’s Declassified Finals Survival Guide

Finals week:  A week full of draconian examinations or, as comedian Daniel Tosh calls them, “those things where we test what you actually know.” At this point in the semester, students switch into “holiday mode,” feeling apathetic toward coursework when time can be happily spent planning a relaxing Winter Break. But they stress over looming deadlines for final projects, papers and exams before making the journey home. Although it may seem difficult to preserve one’s focus and motivation during these last two weeks, this Finals Week Survival Guide has several tips and tricks from upperclassmen to keep their eyes on the grade.

No. 1: Take periodic, 15-minute Facebook breaks.

Oftentimes, nothing makes students feel better about themselves than the distressed hyperbole of your 510 closest friends. When you make yourself a fly on Facebook’s wall during finals week, you at least spare yourself the hypocrisy of posting status after status after status while complaining that you do not have sufficient time to study and write papers. By using Facebook for entertainment and not as your personal newsreel, you are efficiently conserving your cranium capacity for school-related activities. Do not feel guilty for animalizing your studies with a treat.

No. 2: Actually study. Seriously.

Residence halls also put in extra effort to help students focus. But residence halls also encourage socializing in controlled environments. Lawrinson Hall, for example, is hosting several study sessions for students who want to study in groups with snacks and drinks throughout the next two weeks. Students don’t need to sit there and read straight out of a textbook. Make studying fun with interesting mnemonics to memorize facts. By applying learned material to everyday life, students are more likely to know the facts rather than trying to cram information into the brain for the sake of a test.

No. 3: Keep a fresh Wikipedia page on tab.

At some point in your studies, you will have to look up nouns. As much as grade school teachers and professors loathe admitting this, Wikipedia is the encyclopedic mecca of people, places and things. Save yourself the extra time. Google the free encyclopedia once at the beginning of your first study session and do not close out of it until you are traveling home for Winter Break. The only Wiki drawback? It’s the anti-Facebook.  Nothing makes you feel worse about yourself than reading about people who have lapped you 10-15 times on the relevant scale. Just steer clear of entries whose opening sentence ends in “Philanthropist.”

No. 4: Stay Brigham Young sober.

This is the cardinal sin for college students. But save for the diamond-in-the-rough pothead, no one is more cognitively productive when high or drunk. For one week out of 52, we must all make like our brothers and sisters at the 15-time defending “Stone Cold Sober” champions of the Princeton Review: Brigham Young University. Be mindful, however, that the Onondaga tap is about as clean as Lil’ Wayne’s follicle test. That stream is a cesspool. Stick to the good old American bottle manufacturers. Nothing stimulates the brain like some icy, cold water spiked with capital accumulation.

No. 5: The Last Supper.

If Guy Fieri went on a dining hall tour, there is no question Ernie would be a stop. What other dining hall has already upgraded its ice cream to froyo? A meal at Ernie is always three, if not four, five or six, courses. Amid tests, papers and general hell on Earth, don’t cop out and order Jimmy John’s. After all, Mommy and Daddy — or possibly Syracuse University if you happen to be 6 feet 7 inches and giraffe-limbed — are paying for it.

No. 6: Doodle.

The day of the exam, you may still have jitters. You know everything there is to know, as long as you reviewed all the material. But if you have trouble focusing during a test, try chewing gum to relieve the stress.

“I put a piece of gum in my mouth right before I start the exam because I’m a person who starts to doodle when I get frustrated,” said Kaylah Wicks, a sophomore nutrition major. “Instead of (doodling), I focus on chewing the gum.”

No. 7: Be Cocky as hell.

I am appalled when I talk to people during finals week who have absolutely convinced themselves that they are going to earn a zero on every single test and paper. I guess that is President Barack Obama’s mindset when he wakes up every morning, too. But don’t fret.  Finals are no different from any other tests, other than their wildly inconvenient collective arrangement on the calendar. So take a deep, long breath out of your mouth and nose. If you do fail miserably, the world is ending in 17 days anyway, so don’t sweat it.


Top Stories