Finals: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

As winter finals start, along with it comes the panic and crippling fear of failure. That’s pretty relatable for you isn’t it?

Finals stress can be harmful to your mental health, academic performance, and overall wellbeing. It begins when you’re stressed about doing poorly, which makes you frantic and unable to focus. Because you’re unable to focus, being stressed inherently makes you perform poorly. Because you performed poorly, you’re again worried about succeeding, stressing out even more than before. This brings the cycle of stress back to the start.

A loop that helps virtually no one. Ever.

To avoid stressing yourself out about tests and final projects and presentations, it’s important to focus on minimizing your illogical stress and then realize it won’t be as bad as you think.

Simple tactics like keeping an organized workspace and making a schedule to plan ahead of time help immensely, but not everyone is that type of student. Finals are less a test of your intelligence and what you learned, and more about what you memorized that the teacher deems correct. Not that they aren’t important of course.

Believing these tests will ruin your life doesn’t help you, this especially applies to incoming freshmen who are taking these types of tests for the first time in their lives.

“My advice for incoming freshmen is most of all to relax. Take breaks, review your notes, and ask your teachers if you don’t understand the concepts!” said Guadalupe Mendoza, senior. “I can guarantee they won’t get mad at you.”

During finals season everyone is on edge, yet something as simple as taking a step back and doing a different activity can work wonders. While this advice might seem cliche or redundant, it’s become that way because it works.

  • Get something to eat, you can’t focus if you’re hungry.
  • Allow yourself certain time to sit and relax, think about anything but your finals. Basically treat yourself but don’t let it become a distraction.
  • If you’re stuck on a specific subject, switch over to your favorite or easier one for the time being.
  • For the love of everything good in this world don’t forget to sleep. All nighters only help short term and then you regret it later.
  • Don’t punish yourself for not understanding everything. We’re human beings, not a bunch of Wikipedia articles.
  • Practice tests are your saving grace.


It’s well known fact that students during finals season could give less of a damn about “self-care” and “stress-relief” but it’s a factor that plays a big part in your academic career. It doesn’t matter how many times you went over your flashcards, if you’re tired and numb you’re not going to be able to recite a single thing.

Finals suck, we all know it. But it doesn’t have to be the worst thing you’ve ever experienced. (Trust me, that’ll come much later.) Remember that your grades aren’t more important than you, and it will get better.