Opinion | Take care of yourself during finals week

With finals week coming up at the UI, it is important for students to take care of themselves.

Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist

A couple months ago in my ADHD and Development Lab, we discussed a study that found college students used more Adderall during finals week than otherwise. We started discussing possible solutions to this problem, and the principal investigator of our lab suggested the radical idea of canceling finals week.

I’m not going to argue for the cancelation of finals week. However, I am going to argue that — while many of us do have a ton to do — it’s important for University of Iowa students to get enough rest and take other measures to avoid burnout during finals week.

Survey results found 31 percent of college students said finals week was their biggest stressor. Finals and midterms were the biggest stressor for college students, according to the survey.

According to a Her Campus article, ways to avoid burnout during finals include to get eight hours of sleep every night, take a day off after extensive studying for self-care, to not procrastinate and begin studying at least an hour a day two weeks before the final, and using the pomodoro technique.

Getting an early start on studying can help reduce stress, increase the amount of breaks you can afford to take, and take away the need for all-nighters.

The pomodoro technique includes studying for 25 minutes and then taking a three-to-five minute break. The cycle is repeated four times before taking a longer break. This is a good method to use in order to make sure work and studying gets done, but also makes sure you do not overwork yourself.

Another way to avoid burnout is to take care of yourself mentally and avoid stress as much as you can. Listen to a song you love, eat something sweet, spend time with your pet if you have one, or even just call home and let out your stress. I personally have a stress ball which always helps me survive the last week of the semester.

I can understand the stress and temptation to pull all-nighters when you have a lot of finals. However, science shows you will only be harming yourself and your academic performance. Numerous studies have found sleep supports memory, problem-solving, and judgement.

College students need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Finals week is not an exception to this recommendation. While dead week may be the hardest time to get enough sleep, it is also one of the most important weeks to do so.

Lack of sleep hinders working memory, which is the memory that is necessary for immediately remembering facts and storing them in your brain, to be used, such as when taking a test. Therefore, you can’t do well on your final without adequate sleep because the lack of rest will cause your brain to not remember the material you studied so hard.

Another huge part of avoiding burnout is making sure you still take care of yourself and your hygiene. Don’t forget to shower and eat three meals a day. Most important of all, don’t put anything dangerous into your body.

Many students abuse painkillers, stimulants, and sedatives to help relieve stress and stay up to study during finals week. Risking your physical health isn’t worth it just to relieve stress or pull an all-nigher.

In all the hustle and bustle of finals week, don’t forget to breathe and take care of yourself. You’re worth more than your grade point average.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.