7 Stages of Prepping For Your Final

IvanWalsh.com Come mid December, we all face the week we fear the most. Our intellect is finally put to the test, and we can no longer run from the exams that haunt our dreams. After weeks of procrastination and several anxiety attacks, we experience a "fuck" moment. We know we have to start preparing, and we know we have to start yesterday.

These are the typical stages of prepping for a final exam:

  1. Mental prep

You spend roughly 3-6 hours complaining about how much work you have and how you do not have time for it. This way everybody knows about it, but they won’t empathize with you. If they had their way, they'd lock you in a team room by yourself. The only thing holding them back from doing so is the fact that it would waste a team room, and come finals week they’re harder to come by than sunshine in Syracuse.

Now that you’ve made sure everybody and their mother knows how much work you have, you progress the cause and spread awareness through social media. Record a video for Instagram of you studying while In The Arms of an Angel plays in the background. Don’t forget to caption it, “For just one study guide a day, you too can save the dying GPA of a struggling student.” But that's not enough. You post in your graduating class’s Facebook group offering to pay in Chipotle, fro-yo, Starbucks, etc for any kind of help. Sadly enough the promise is just as empty as your bank account.

In a more direct, less passive aggressive approach you contact every classmate and person you’ve cheated off of for the notes. While you wait for a response, you ask that friend who you know is prescribed Adderall and stock up for the week. Would asking for a friends and family discount be pushing it?

  1. Creating "the plan"

You make a plan to make a plan. While you’re creating this plan, it is incredibly important to allot a specific, yet flexible, time for procrastination. This could last anywhere between 3 hours to 3 days.

You also tell yourself that you’re going to go to office hours because apparently that’s what good students do. You’ve heard some professors give test questions during these “office hours.” Although your schedule permits it, you’ll probably won't go so you change your plan. Your plan plans to start studying relatively far in advance since realistically you forgot all of the information over Thanksgiving break.

Once this plan is complete, you can assume you’ve done enough work for the day and rest easy that night. You’ll get a head start studying tomorrow.

  1. The review

You decide to start being responsible (a.k.a. none of your friends are going out) and stay in that Saturday night to “study,” which will probably turn into wine and movie night.

After you take the textbook out of its wrapping, you sit with it open on the desk in front of you and fall asleep on the book. Drool is involved. Who knows, maybe absorbed some information through osmosis.

  1. Instant panic

You’ve successfully finished a thorough scan of the first chapter and confidently think you have a good grasp on things. Then you remember the exam also covers the next nine chapters. Oops.

Along the way you text class friends (fake friends) useless, annoying questions, to which they answer with ease (they really want you dead). You wonder if there is something you’re missing because everybody else seems to be doing just fine. Regular sleeping patterns are long gone and you convince yourself you’re getting sick. You start to wonder how sick you'd need to be to get exempt from the exam.

  1. Last minute cramming

The morning before the exam you wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare you had that you were beyond unprepared for tomorrow. You sweat even more once you realize it's reality. You brace yourself to spend the day in Bird or Whitman and find the only available space left is the elevator.

Your studying playlist is starting to sound more like an 80s movie montage with “Eye of the Tiger” in Rocky or “Hungry Eyes” in Dirty Dancing on repeat. Your thoughts wander as you imagine Patrick Swayze approaching you, announcing that nobody puts “Baby” (that’s you!) in a corner. At this point, the obligatory “all nighter” turns into a “majority of the nighter.” Honestly, it is time to cut your losses.

  1. The day of the test

You sleep through the alarm you set to wake up early and study. When you realize it's half past noon, you scramble to get dressed and frantically search for your lucky pen, hat, underwear, etc. When you arrive at the exam out of breath, you say a final prayer while the professor hands out the papers. You hope for a miracle.

  1. The post-exam celebration

You burn or sell all of your notes, immediately ridding yourself of all remnants and reminders of finals week. As soon as you get home, you flop onto your bed and fall into the deepest sleep you’ve ever had... since after your last finals week.

On that note… happy studying, and may the curves be ever in your favor.