Dead Week Lifelines

As another semester comes to a close, it seems so unreal to look back at how much we've all accomplished just in the last few weeks. My freshman year has flown by and I hear time just keeps going faster after that!

Since this is only my second semester in college, I'm still relatively new to the idea of "dead week." It sounds so daunting, but the idea of it is essentially pretty nice; professors aren't supposed to have any big exams or major assignments/projects due during the week before finals. This week is the so-called "calm before the storm." However, "dead" doesn't just seem to describe the pre-finals week properly.

On top of studying for final exams, almost every student I know, including myself, has at least one extra major assignment still to work on. Some people have had presentations in class, others have lab finals before finals week, and so on. All of  this requires lots of energy, focus, and attention--I don't think many people are spending this week in zombie mode unless they plan on pulling all-nighters. Which, by the way, is not something that I would recommend to anyone for multiple reasons:

  1. You won't be able to think properly when you haven't rested the night before your test.
  2. You'll probably fall asleep during the exam or start dozing at some point, and you need all of that time to show that you know the course material!
  3. You'll feel bad mentally and physically, and you want to be in the best state possible.
  4. When you forfeit sleep in order to cram you won't retain most of the information you review so it won't actually get you anywhere.

There are a lot of downsides to studying through the night, and instead of pushing everything aside until crunch time, I think we'd all benefit by taking advantage of whatever breaks we've been given during dead week.

  1. Make a study plan. Even if you don't follow it exactly, your studying will be more beneficial if you set goals to accomplish. Also, this way you can make sure you allow yourself enough time to prepare for multiple finals; it'll keep you from focusing on one class and then forgetting about another one.
  2. Allow yourself some study breaks. You need to make sure you stay relaxed, refreshed, nourished, and sane, but on the other hand you aren't going to get anywhere if you study for five minutes and then take a thirty minute break to check Facebook. Just think, the more time you study now, the more time you can waste watching shows on Hulu when you're done with finals!
  3. Study with someone else from your class. Both (or all) of you will benefit from reviewing course materials, and you might go over something you forgot to write in your notes.
  4. If you have any extra anxieties or questions about what you've covered this semester, talk to your professor! I met with one of my professors for almost an hour and it was super helpful to discuss the class with him. Your professor should know what's going to be on the exam, so any questions he or she can answer will be useful for you! Professors want you to succeed and they have office hours for a reason.
  5. Go to the review session. Even if you think you know everything, it's good to refresh your memory. Plus not all professors hold review sessions so when they do you should take advantage of it as an additional study tool!
  6. Breathe. Exams are stressful but it's not the end of the world. All you can do is prepare your best and take the test. You can't change anything after it's over so try not to worry about it!

My dorm has some really nice dead week stress reduction activities including a game night, movie night, pancake feast, etc. The Hutton Honors College is hosting a finger painting activity so you can "paint out your stress." There's a Rent-a-puppy event also taking place this week and I plan to play with a puppy for thirty minutes as one of my study breaks. Isn't that great? This is one of the puppies who will be at that event, hosted by Lutheran Campus Ministries to benefit the Bloomington Animal Shelter:

So adorable and all of the puppies there will be up for adoption! This is something I really love about IU: there are always plenty of cool new things to do, places to go, things to see! So even though I'll be spending the majority of my dead week studying, reviewing, making exam guides, and attending review sessions, I'll still be able to take part in some really enjoyable experiences. I'm determined to make sure that my dead week is full of life, entertainment, and happiness. Beat that, final exams!

About The Author
Lindsay StoneIU Class of 2015

IU sophomore studying speech and hearing sciences and psychology. Movement Exchange at IU marketing director, PALS therapeutic riding volunteer, VIDA Spanish theater participant, and club member of the IU Equestrian Team. Future speech-language pathologist.