Surviving Dead Week
This time of year, two words are heard that are dreaded by every student and whispered in fear: dead week. That is the last week of classes before finals.
The name alone can spark fear. Even though I don’t think anybody actually ever died from schoolwork, many have reached the point of almost having a nervous breakdown during the dreaded week, that’s for sure.
Last semester, dead week wasn’t a fun time for me either. Stress starts to accumulate way before the end of the semester and its effects are unavoidable.
Even though I work really well under pressure, I know that my body has had enough when tiny involuntary glitches start to appear. For example, at the end of the last semester one eyelid started trembling so much that I had to keep it still with a finger if I wanted to keep on studying.
That’s not all. I remember at one point last year I started having dreams about being attacked by snakes and about my friends dying in the weirdest circumstances. I even had dandruff for a couple of weeks.
You can tell that dead week is approaching when you see faces in the library that you have never seen before and people are obsessively typing their grades in the calculator, trying to figure out what is the lowest grade they can get on the final to be able to still pass the class.
Since this is the craziest time of the year, Angelo State tries to help students in many ways.
Here are just a couple of things offered on campus during dead week:
- The library makes more tables available to students and reserves an area of the Common Grounds coffee shop for quiet study;
- Chartwells hosts a midnight breakfast on the Sunday before the first day of finals, serving eggs, bacon and pancakes to students who will probably do an all-nighter;
- Tutors and supplemental instructors hold special sessions for students who need answers to all of their last-minute questions.
Even though ASU gives students a lot of help, the only person who can decide to make it through dead week is you.
I may sound repetitive, but good planning and time management are crucial to good outcomes. So much good information is already available in the blog that I am not going to spend time talking about those aspects. (Read how to take some student shortcuts and how to read like you mean it.)
One of the most dangerous enemies during dead week is sleep deprivation. Research shows that a good night’s sleep is important for memory and the ability to think well. What is the point of staying up all night to study if you won’t be able to remember anything because you didn’t sleep enough? Make sure that you sleep at least seven hours every night so you give your brain the chance to recharge and work at its best.
Another essential component of surviving dead week is finding your own relief valve. It must be something that relaxes you and fights the effects of stress on the body, like working out, doing some yoga, listening to some music or taking a warm bath.
So make sure to schedule enough sleep hours and some time for yourself when planning your study sessions for dead week if you don’t want to risk burn out.