Whether you are in your first or last semester at college, chances are that there is one word that freaks you out more than any other: finals. Before you know it, finals week will be upon us, bringing its bi-annual cocktail of stress and anxiety. But with some preparation, this week from hell can become more of a walk in the park.

The easiest way to avoid this stress is to not let it affect you. It’s definitely an art, but if you can distract yourself for a little bit everyday by listening to music or taking a nap, you can prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed. It’s important to keep these distractions to a minimum, however, as studying and your inevitable pile of homework should remain a priority.

Speaking of priorities, time management is crucial when trying to tackle finals week. Figure out your exam schedule now and plan accordingly. If there is a break in your schedule, use that to your advantage. If there is not, plan for a busy couple days of studying the weekend before. Regardless, getting that last week in order now will only help you out in the long run.

Lastly, remember to get some sleep in these final weeks of the semester. Keeping your body and brain healthy may not seem like much, but this can benefit you more than staying up all night to study. Taking your finals while running on little sleep can inhibit you from putting forth your best work. If you manage your time well enough, you should not have to stay up all night to study anyway.

Finals week is no fun. It’s almost guaranteed to make you want to scream, cry, throw things or a combination of all of the above. But if you distract yourself when the stress gets to be too much, manage your time efficiently and remember to get a substantial amount of sleep, finals week won’t be too bad at all. And before you know it, winter break (and a month without classes) will be upon us.

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