Wanna know something kind of crazy? Today is my last day of undergrad finals. Next semester since I'll be student teaching all of the education majors in my cohort and myself will take a month long block of courses from January to February but won't have finals. While this is exciting it's kind of weird to think about as well. Part of me enjoys finals since I am able to sit down and suds uninterrupted for longer periods of time than normal since I typically don't have classes and meetings breaking up that time. The other part of me is pretty giddy since that means more sleep and hopefully less stress when it comes to the end of the semester.
Having taken midterms and finals for a number of years now I've developed strategies that work best for me and have also discovered essential items I need to use or bring along with me to the library or an exam in order to do my best. I have included the best of the best of what those items are for me with hopes of preparing y'all in the best way possible as we all enter into this busy time of the year.
Warm Jacket: It has been cold outside here in South Carolina lately and while the heat has been on in the library and the classrooms for a little while now there can still sometimes be a draft. This grey Patagonia is my go to because it's not too bulky where you feel like you need to take it off in order to rest your hands on your desk when you type but it definitely keeps me warm. It's also a great layering piece for those bitterly cold days that require multiple jackets.
Water Bottle: I pretty much always keep a water bottle with me out of habit and convenience. If I'm thirsty or need to hydrate between cups of coffee I don't want to waste my valuable study time getting distracted by trips to the water fountain.
Agenda: Pretty essential for anyone who is a planner like myself. I have a tendency to write down way too much on my to-do list when it comes to studying because I don't want to miss any important articles or class notes. I also find that being able to see visually when my different exams are helps me to better manage my time so that I am adequately prepared for all of them.
Gum: Gum definitely helps me to stay awake and Mentos gum may just be my favorite (aside from the fact that it can rattle around in my backpack making it obvious to others that I have gum that could be shared).
Coffee: This is a no brainer for me. I LOVE coffee and keep it around as a very valuable resource when it comes to studying and test taking. Most mornings I'll just make some coffee in my Keurig before heading out but if I need a refill we have 2 different coffee shops on campus that allow us to use our meal points to stay caffeinated.
Granola Bars: I can not focus if I am hungry so I try to be conscious of that by keeping a variety of granola bars in my backpack for studying or pre-test emergencies. The more protein the better since that helps me to stay full longer and I think my all time favorites would have to be Luna's Chocolate Peppermint Stick bars!
It's A 10 Dry Shampoo: I'm going to be real for a second here. Exam week is not typically the time when college students are *most* conscious about their hygiene or appearance. Because of long days in the library where the most active thing you are doing is flipping through flashcards or lifting your textbook you don't always feel like you need a shower. When that is the case I like to utilize dry shampoo so that I don't look gross going to the library or to take my final. I love my It's A 10 Dry Shampoo because it definitely gets the job done, smells nice, and keeps my hair super soft which is a plus! While it doesn't equate to an entire shower it seems to be a good start.
Leggings: During winter exam days attempting to stay warm and comfortable are two of my priorities. On occasion I'll take the phrase "dress well, test well" to heart but for the most part you can find me in leggings, tennis shoes, and some sort of oversized t-shirt.
Laptop + Chargers: Getting to the library and realizing that I don't have my laptop or some type of charger is quite the inconvenience. I use my laptop to make study guides, do flash cards, and scroll through teachers presentations so often I would be lost without it when it comes to studying. This is definitely one of my biggest exam week essentials.
So, there you have it. My exam week essentials. While these things definitely won't guarantee an A on any sort of final you have hopefully they will help you to stay focused, save time, and keep comfortable so that you're able to focus on the material. I'd love to know what items constitute your own exam week essentials!