If you’re anything like me, the experience of finals is pretty much the same every year. From your first year to your last, the emotional unraveling process is generally the same for us all. It probably looks something like this:
Phase 1: You know finals are a couple weeks away. You know it is going to be stressful, but maybe this is the year that you will flawlessly keep all of your ducks in a row. With this hopeful thought in mind, you put on a brave face.
Phase 2: Around the same time as phase one, before your professors have even discussed what your final exams will look like, your stress and anxiety begins to quickly rise, but you try to jokingly shake it off.
Phase 3: Your profs give you the study guide, and you question if you really learned anything throughout the semester.
Phase 4: You knew finals were coming, and that the end was near, but you didn’t fully realize how much more effort you’d have to put into the semester before it ended.
But you shouldn’t feel bad, because everyone in your class is in the same, sinking boat. Nobody knows where they might end up.
Phase 5: Panic. (It won’t be the last time you freak out before you’re finished, but it’s a start.)
From here on out, this is your day-to-day motto:
And any extra assignments your profs put on your plate have you like:
Due to the stress, your sense of humor has become sub-par.
Phase 6: You question if you’ve done anything right this semester, and you think about everything you could have done differently to prepare your grade for the potential blow of finals.
But you know that you need to get your act together and get busy if you want to have any chance of succeeding. As any college student would, you reach out to your friends to bond over the stress in the best way you know how.
And you have a mutual agreement with them to not be offended if one of you gets a bit hostile.
Phase 7: There is less than a week left before finals: you’re finishing up last minute assignments, studying like crazy, trying not to think about wanting to go home, and probably trying to carry out the rest of your responsibilities in groups that your involved in on campus. Basically, your life is feeling like this:
But you still do your best to maintain the appearance of composure, and if people to ask you to hang out, you’re likely to calmly and respectfully decline.
The stress and exhaustion continue to take a toll on your emotions, and this:
Quickly turns into this:
(Told you the first panic wouldn’t be the last.)
Phase 8: It’s cram time. You don’t know when the last time you showered was, or when you got more than two hours of peaceful sleep in a twenty-four hour period. Even though there isn’t enough time in the day, you need to eat if you want your brain to function. When it comes to personal hygiene, you’ve seen better days.
You continue to grow more exhausted, stressed, and irritable. Delirious, you begin to question if any of it is worth it, and giving up seems like a reasonable option.
Especially if/when any of your friends decide to grace your brain with the knowledge that they have no finals this semester. Your response is valid…
Phase 9: You’ve lost every ounce of motivation, just in time for the finals you’ve dedicated the past couple weeks of your life to. Your friends and professors may notice your lack of energy, which has all but disappeared. If they ask you how you’re feeling, you don’t hide the cold, hard truth.
Most likely, they give you the last little push you need to make it through the chaos.
Obviously still overwhelmed, you gain just enough inspiration to make yourself believe there is a chance that you can succeed.
Phase 10: It is time. The night before your exam, you get your last-minute studying in. You go to bed with the intention of waking up and getting ready in the morning, because the “look good, feel good” approach works, and you need all the help you can get. So, you think you’ll look like this:
Let’s get real. Due to your exhaustion, you end up sleeping longer than expected. Disheveled, you run to your exam so that you’re not late. When somebody asks what happened to you, you’re less than composed…
At this point, you just want to take this test and go into hibernation for a few years. If your prof is even one minute late to the exam, you don’t know what to do with yourself.
Then it’s over. You take the test, along with the rest of your final exams. For the first time in what feels like forever, you can finally breathe.
Relieved and stress free, you hang out with your friends and pack up for a well deserved break.
You’ve made it. You’re 95% sure you didn’t fail the class, you brilliant warrior, you. Well done.
Thanks for reading my blog post! I figured everyone could probably use a little, humorous study break. …You should probably get back to the grind, though.
Good luck, Brits!