Mahnoor’s Declassified Finals Survival Guide

SUNY New Paltz often hosts “Stress Busters” such as therapy dogs in the library and yoga classes in the gym. Take advantage of all the free activities for a study break!

Greetings, my fellow Hawks. By now, I may or may not have established myself here as a columnist with opinions that don’t sit so pretty with some people, or most people at that. I don’t always lead by example, but I give some pretty good advice if I say so myself. Have I actually been to all of my finals here at SUNY New Paltz? No, as I don’t make it a habit to partake in activities I don’t find enjoyable, but that’s neither here nor there. Whether you find my ethos completely obliterated at this point, I will still provide you with a pretty neat guide on how to get through finals week.

Tip #1: Delete your social media. I know, I went cold turkey on this list, but bare with me. Just delete the one that trips you up the most. For me that’s Snapchat, which I frequently find myself deleting anyway. It’ll be ok, nothing will change. You can always log back in. Send a melodramatic farewell message to all your followers if you have to. This week your phone is only for two things: emergencies and food delivery. 

Tip #2: Tapingo, Tapingo, Tapingo. Use the last of your dining dollars. Freshmen, beg your parents for those Hawk Dollars. This tip will save you so much time that you don’t need to be wasting waiting in line. I don’t even wait in line on a regular day, forget it on a day I have papers to write. Similarly, cut that nice walk to town and just use Grubhub, but don’t waste your hopes on Door Dash. 

Tip #3: Coffee is your best friend. It’s legal cocaine, basically. Going along with tip No. 2, only use Tapingo at Starbucks, and an ample time before picking it up, too. In fact, do it as soon as you open your eyes in the morning, if you even go to sleep, that is. I’ll give you a tip within a tip, however. Don’t even bother with coffee shops unless you’re asking to procrastinate. If you’re not boujee enough to have a Keurig, buy instant coffee; it’s cheaper, like legal crack, basically. 

Tip #4: Actually sleep. Listen, after being that straight A kid my whole life, sometimes at the expense of my mental and physical health, I’ve learned that it’s just not worth it. All nighters before an exam will only leave you exhausted. All nighters are for work that can be finished during the night and handed in by morning. So if it’s 2 a.m., and you don’t know jacksh*t by now, you’re not gonna retain any more in the twilight hours. Just wing it. 

Tip #5: Don’t study with your friends. Just don’t, you know better. Unless they are only “class friends,” ya know, the friends you make just to get in on the study guide.

Tip #6: Use apps to stay focused. I personally like the app called “Focus Keeper,” it times you for 25 minutes of straight work time, then you get a five minute break. For those of you that need visual satisfaction, there are apps that will grow a tree every time you complete a task or set amount of time, giving you a garden of productivity by the end.

Tip #7: Communicate with your professors. Believe it or not, most of them actually want you to succeed. Especially if you have papers to write and need some guidance, just talk to them. Don’t be inconsiderate and ask for extensions the day things are due or send all your semester’s work on the last day of finals, but keep them in the loop if you are truly struggling. 

Tip #8: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Contrary to popular belief, cramming is not that effective. Take everything step-by-step, create study guides, do a little each day. Any effort is more than no effort.

Tip #9: Move around. Often. A change of scenery may keep you from going brain dead. Some places I recommend? The side of the library where they have those single cubicles, that weird conference room in the library that they open after 12:30 a.m. that oddly gets you to do work, an empty room in the lecture center, and maybe even a tiny table in that corner of Karma Road. Places to avoid? Starbucks on campus (unless you thrive in chaos), your room (unless you’re type A) and busy places in town.

Mahnoor Ali
About Mahnoor Ali 46 Articles
Mahnoor Ali is a fourth-year English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. This is her third semester with the The Oracle. Previously, she has worked as Assistant Copy Editor and Features Editor. Her favorite stories to both read and write about are Culture, Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Columns, with an appreciation for News and social issues.