Staying Sane During Finals

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Guys, it’s that time I’ve been dreading all semester… my first round of law school finals (insert scrunched-up eyes emoji here). Being an evening law student while maintaining my full time job has been a wonderfully exciting and rewarding, and despite all the long nights and constant coffee runs during the day I’m so happy that I finally decided to take on this challenge!

But, for all of you who might be facing finals in the upcoming weeks (especially if, like me, you haven’t taken a test since undergrad!), I thought I’d share a few tips that have maintained my sanity over the past few weeks.

Work hard, but take time for YOU 

No matter how tired I am, I try to take time – even if it’s seriously just 5 minutes – to myself before bed. Usually I’ll either put on some music and pick out my outfit for the next day, take a hot shower (or bubble bath if it’s one of those best days ever where I have extra time), catch up on TV with my boyfriend, call my parents, or read a book before bed that is strictly for fun and not school related. Currently I’m reading  Swing Time by Zadie Smith and loving it. Even these little activities help me feel refreshed, and like I haven’t spent the entire day tuning my needs out.

Caffeine is a god send, and consume it as often as you can 

I mean, this is pretty obvious, but oh my god coffee. I’m slightly alarmed at the rate my coffee spending has shot up over the past four months,

Get that beauty sleep

Before starting law school, I got a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Recently I’ve been working on coping with something in the 6 hour range. I know, I’m a grandma. But I’m a firm believer that sleep, especially when finals are approaching, is so key. I know it’s tempting to stay up til all hours to study just a little bit more, but I honestly feel like I absorb information better when I’ve slept on it. Figure out other ways you can maximize your time during the day, because it’s worth it get an extra hour or so of beauty rest in!

Don’t be afraid to say no

As hard as it is during the holiday season to turn down invitations, you can only do so much. There are only so many hours in the day, and you simply do not have time to do everything. If you need to study and need the night to be productive and get work done, take it! I’m definitely someone who always feels like I need to say yes to everything, but I’m finding that choosing to skip events on occasion for a quiet night at the library actually makes me feel more productive and happier over all because I feel less stressed out! (And that’s something my family definitely appreciates.) Keep in mind that everyone understands – school is a HUGE commitment, and you only get that particular degree once. It’s alright to make the most of it.

Take the night off

I know this pretty much the opposite of what I just said, but life is all about balance, right? This is one thing that I’ve been a firm believer in since undergrad – when you need a break for an hour, or even a night, take it. Your body knows what it needs and most of the time, in my experience, it’s best if you just listen. If your brain is shutting down on you, the best way to kick it back into gear is to take a break, shake it off, change your scenery and then come back to your work with fresh eyes. I know that some of my fellow classmates are going non-stop, studying at all hours of the day, and if you can power through like that more power to you! But I think for most of us, give yourself a break, and don’t feel guilty about it.

Have something to look forward to

I know for me, committing my weekends and every night after work to studying at the library or a coffee shop can leave me feeling burnt out and kind of, well, sad. One way I’ve gotten around it is having something fun to get you through the day! Last weekend, my boyfriend and I planned fun date nights out or in each night, and knowing that I had something enjoyable to look forward to made it infinitely easier to focus and give it my all all day. And, also – we’re right smack in the middle of the holiday season! Although this year is particularly stressful, this time of year always puts a smile on my face. So enjoy the little things, look forward to all your holiday parties, and bake yourself some cookies to keep you going during your next study session (or, you know, lunch the next day.)

Good luck to everyone!

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