A Stress-Free Finals Week

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Art/Photo by Samantha Takeda

As finals week approaches, it’s crucial to take time to take care of yourself. Co-Vice President of Tutorial club Michelle Fong (12) notes how she recharges during this stressful time: “Whether [it be] self-care stuff like just making yourself something nice to drink [or] doing a face mask, I find that that really helps me relax for a bit and find my motivation again to just power through with that last assignment or whatever I have to get done.”

Alexssa Takeda, Staff Writer

   Although a year of COVID has been full of unexpected obstacles, many of the challenges of school have remained the same, including finals. Even if the last week of the semester is known for frantic flipping of flashcards and haphazard scanning of notes, there are ways to keep this stress to a minimum. 

   Michelle Fong (12), Co-Vice President of West High’s Tutorial Club, detailed how their services might aid students during this time. Although their traditional Cram Sessions aren’t available due to being entirely virtual, Tutorial Club is still offering free tutoring meetings on Monday through Thursday for anyone who wants to drop in for help.

   When it comes to Fong’s personal study plans, the pandemic has unfortunately taken away her favorite studying spots. “I always really liked studying with other people and occasionally studying outside of my home,” she said. “But, of course, the pandemic does not allow for that.” Whether it be Starbucks or the library, it can be difficult to create study groups, leaving virtual settings to be the only remaining options. But with school days filled with Zoom call after Zoom call, video calls can be exhausting, resulting in students feeling “zoomed-out.” Hopping onto a meeting with friends to study can seem like a chore. 

   Nonetheless, there are still ways to study effectively on your own. Fong shared the methods she found that worked best when tutoring students: “One of the things that I like to do is ask people to explain a concept back to me, after I’ve explained it, in their own words.” Active participation helps her determine whether or not the student has a full understanding of the topic, as opposed to a surface-level regurgitation of the information. Fong also advocated for taking advantage of online resources such as YouTube for conceptual explanations, or College Board for practice tests. As always, cramming rarely works out. It’s more conducive to minimizing stress to construct a study schedule, ensuring you don’t end up scrambling through your notes the night before the big exam. 

   It is important to remember that what works for other people won’t necessarily work for you. Fong pointed out that, as a visual learner, using diagrams and videos is effective for her, while auditory learners might need to hear an explanation read aloud. Learn what works for you to give yourself the best chance for success.

   Finally, while studying is a crucial part of finals, self-care shouldn’t be overlooked. Many students have experienced feeling mentally worn out after a few intense study sessions. Allowing yourself self-care breaks to minimize stress during the weeks leading up to finals is crucial, according to Mindful Co-Vice President Audrey Kim (11). This year, Mindful has strived to educate students on varying mental health topics, including stress management. Kim explained that “taking time away from technology, going outside, taking a walk, [or] doing some other activity that helps you relax like [watching] a movie” can help your body recharge and find the motivation to jump back into work. Taking breaks is essential to avoiding burn-out, especially since finals week can seem overwhelmingly packed. 

   Although finals week can be stressful, there are many ways to prepare and push yourself through it. Determining which study tips work best for you will save time and energy. Sprinkle in a few breaks and you’ll be on the path to success.