Tips & reflections from a junior: finals week edition

If no one has told you yet (and no one probably has), happy first day of finals. I know the end of the semester is a stressful time for all, so I’m here to help you have a more positive outlook on this dreadful week of exams, papers and projects, while maybe even offering a few ways to relieve some of that stress. 

For freshmen: Congratulations, you’ve made it through your first year of college (well, almost). At least you didn’t go home for spring break and get an email from the university to not return again until the next year because of a pandemic. That’s a bonus.


For sophomores: This is your second go-around…you know the drill by now. I hope you learned from your first year on campus and are studying a little bit harder for your exams; don’t let your GPA… or your mom… down again. You’re about to be an upperclassman, woohoo! 

For juniors: You’re heading into your fourth and final year of college… man does time fly. Get through exams and then have an amazing summer. It’s your last one before you (hopefully) have a full-time job. You won’t be a kid much longer, enjoy it while it lasts.

For seniors: I’m proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself. You’ve accomplished so much in your four years. Take a moment in all of the craziness that finals week is to reminisce on what an amazing college experience you’ve had, then grind out these last few days. I believe in you, and I’ll miss you.

Hopefully I’ve made you smile a bit, or I’ve just distracted you from homework… Either way, I want to give you a few ideas for when you need a study break or a de-stressor this week. Let’s get to it:

1. Get some fresh air

Surprisingly, the weather is supposed to be nice this week in Valpo. Go for a walk around the track or around campus. Put your airpods in, turn on your “vibes” playlist and just soak up some sunlight. Find a playground nearby and swing on the swings for a while. Grab a friend and throw a football or toss a baseball around for a bit. Head to the dunes and go for a hike or a swim. Bring a volleyball or spikeball if you have it. Just get outside, it’s good for you.

2. Binge your favorite movie series or television show 

Cuddle up in bed and turn on your comfort film or start a new series. Now’s a great time to start Game of Thrones if you haven’t already, I promise you won’t regret it. Pop some popcorn, dim the lights and forget about the world for a bit. Maybe even take a nap, you could probably use some sleep. 

3. Go for a drive

Like I said, it’s nice outside. Put your shades on, the windows down, the music up and just cruise. Drive around downtown Valpo, you won’t see it again for a while. Grab a friend or two, blast some throwbacks and scream the lyrics as loudly as you can, let all those negative thoughts, emotions and feelings about finals out. Get on the highway with no destination in mind and road trip for a short while. Don’t think about the paper you have to write by midnight, and definitely don’t think about gas prices. 

4. Head to the pet store

I’m so serious. Nothing relieves stress like playing with puppies. Hang out with a few cute, furry little friends and you’ll feel like an entirely new person. Plus, if you’re like me, you’re probably dog-deprived since you haven’t been home in months. Just try not to adopt a dog while you’re at Pet Supplies Plus. You’re in college… taking care of yourself is difficult enough. 

5. Spend time with friends

This one’s a little more sentimental, but stick with me. It’s your last week with your college friends. For freshmen… sure, you will see them again in the fall, but staying in touch over the summer can be difficult. For seniors… cherish every moment you can with your friends. In 10 years you will remember the crazy nights with your roommates, not your final chemistry exam. I’m not saying to disregard your finals, I’m just saying to be sure to set some time aside for the people you love; they’re what’s most important.

Whether you take any of my suggestions or not, I wish you the best of luck this finals week. I really do believe in you. Have an amazing summer, and I’ll see you in the fall. 

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