Looking for a non-traditional way to prepare for finals? Josh Dillon presents his argument for the best way to spend your reading
Reading week: those special four days per semester when students attempt to cram weeks worth of unread books and unsolved problems into their heads. For many, this means camping in Butler and filling an IV drip with coffee. But this does not have to be you. Do not go gentle into that dark night.
Everyone has seen a student crying in a Butler staircase or chain-smoking outside of a dormitory. You hear stories about students who never sleep, and you receive constant Study Break Facebook invites to “destress and unwind.”
Why do students put themselves through this? To get a good grade on an exam that represents a portion of your class grade which is listed on your transcript to be factored into your GPA which an employer just might use to determine whether or not to hire you?
No. We need to take a step back and remember that we are, for the most part, 20 year-old children trying to do the impossible. We perpetuate an idea that our entire lives are riding on each and every moment and each and every grade in school. They are not. This isn’t to say to blow off class or to not take your work seriously; we have all worked our asses off to get here, and for some of us, paying to attend school is difficult and shouldn’t be taken for granted. But we need to take the time to focus on our happiness. Finals should be challenging and difficult, but they aren’t there to hurt you. Professors want you to do well! But let’s fix the cause of these problems — stressed-out, frantic studying — and try an alternative Reading (for Fun) Week. The steps are as follows:
1. Close the door to your room.
This may seem counter-intuitive as people are supposed to make us feel happy, but talking with other students can be a source of anxiety and worry around finals. People tend to treat this season as a sort of boasting match: “UHH I only got 1.5 hours of sleep last night and I’ve had ten cups of coffee. Have you started the essay for CC yet, it takes years! I’m so glad I finished it weeks ago. Well time to go to Butler I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” Remove this stress by removing people. (Remember these are just suggested steps and are not meant for everyone).
2. Google the top MUST WATCH television series of the year:
Don’t waste your time on Chuck, it gets real old, real fast.
3. Log in to your friend’s Netflix, and let the episodes roll:
Nothing is more mind-numbing and relaxing than watching a new television series. Your problems will melt away as you find yourself transported into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite (or Westeros). As each new episode begins, don’t forget to grab food, preferably popcorn, and stay hydrated.
4. Do not feel guilty.
This is the most important step. After two or three days of sitting in bed watching tv, reading, or whatever it is you do alone, you will feel unbelievably relaxed and ready to study for exams. But do not make the mistake of feeling guilty. You have been preparing yourself to study efficiently, just as an athlete ices before a game. Your brain is now awake and you can accomplish more in a day that most students have all week.
Some people will say, “It’s only four years, I am going to push myself to the limit to be ready for my future.” Just remember, four years is a long time to hold out on happiness. Your life doesn’t start after college, it is starting now. Make sure you are as happy as you want to be.
Stretching via Shutterstock