Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finals Week

It's finals week and while it has probably been one of the least stressful finals weeks I've ever had, there were semesters when I could definitely relate to the following article.  It made me laugh.

"How to Make Yourself Absolutely Miserable During Finals Week" by Alice Mills, PhD

For those of you who would like to increase the discomfort of your finals experience I offer some student tested techniques to help ensure an absolutely miserable finals week:

Start to decrease your sleep time the week before exams and continue this mind-numbing technique throughout finals week.

Skip breakfast and forgo all nutritious foods in favor of coffee, fast foods, and chocolate.

Stop all exercise and park yourself in one location with your books until finals are over.

Now that your body is beginning to show signs of physical wear and tear (you're feeling sleepy -- very sleepy), it's time to start on your mind:

Begin by reviewing what you should have done earlier in the semester. Tell yourself, "I should have started studying sooner," or, "I should have taken better notes." Should all over yourself! Spend your precious study time living in the past. Feel the guilt!

Next focus on what your instructors should have done. "They should have explained the concepts better. They should have assigned less reading." Share the blame. Why should you have to study all this stuff? Life is just so unfair. Get angry!

Focus all your attention on your discomfort. Tell yourself, "I can't stand this!" Awfulize, maximize your pain. "Finals week is unbearable!" Experience the dejection and suffering.

Pump up your tension with some extreme language. Sprinkle your self-talk with words like "never," "always" and "everybody." For example, "I'll never get done! This always happens to me. Everybody else is finished." Experience the angst of absolute defeat.

Maximize your weaknesses. Call yourself some names. Remember to use judgmental global labels that suggest you have no redeeming qualities. "How could I be so STUPID! Everyone will know I'm a FAILURE! I'm such a JERK!" Self-abuse can be the most potent kind. Feel inadequate!

Focus on all the negative events of the semester. Forget your successes. Paint it black.

Finally, predict the worst possible outcomes and ignore all evidence to the contrary. "I'm going to fail!" Live in the catastrophic future you've created in your head. Who can study or take an exam with all these negative emotions? You just can't focus.

Tomorrow at 3:00pm, I will officially be done with the Spring 2011 semester.  I can't wait for my two-week vacation!  My brain is tired!

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