Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rules for Surviving Finals

I was going to make a Jabberwocky and Finch video about this, but don't have the time or resources. So now it's a blog.

The reason I have no time? Finals.

This is my first semester to truly feel the brunt of finals. In the past, I've had a handful of final papers and some brief language exams that mostly fell during Hell Week (the week before exams has a very telling name, doesn't it?). This semester, I had a research paper due during finals as well as three exams each at 8:30 in the morning.

My roommate (who this semester has been dying a long, drawn out death called Organic Chemistry) and I began studying Friday evening. Since then we have stayed up until at least three every night studying, woken up at 8 to begin studying again and quite honestly done nothing else.

We've been studying so much that I even strained my eye. I thought it was pink eye, but the nurse assured me it is just a reaction to the nonstop reading I've been doing. My eye itches and hurts so badly that I can't wear eye make up. So those purple circles under my eyes? Way more noticeable. The only way my eye doesn't hate me is if I wear my reading glasses. I hadn't been wearing them all week (probably why I strained my eye in the first place) and when I put them on this morning, it was like I was seeing the world clearly for the first time ever.

It was during one of those droning hours of studying, squinting my eyes to see the dull print, that it occurred to me that finals are a lot like zombies.

They haunt your mind all semester as a vague impending specter. While you're trying to fight them (sometimes referred to as studying), the act of survival consumes you. Nothing else in the world matters except to survive finals. You stay up all day and night trying to stave them off. When they finally catch you, they eat your brains. You're left with a vacant skull and maybe a few pieces of mush about verb conjugation and linear regression.

At this point, you have become a zombie. The whites of your glazed eyeballs are circled in purple, your brain is gone, your limbs are stiff and you crave nothing more than human blood.

Oh wait, maybe not that last part. I think my metaphor got carried away. Maybe some people crave human blood when they're done with finals. I don't. Just to be clear.

I am not yet a zombie. As you may have noticed from my sentience. Being one of the few non-infected students left on campus, I thought it may be beneficial to share how I came to survive for this long. My survival is thanks to Columbus' list of rules in Zombieland.

1. Cardio
Combative studying requires staying up at all hours of the night and day. Being active is a part of being intelligent. Coffee, sodas and adderall will only last you so long. In order to retain optimum levels of energy, you have to work out, which brings me to my second rule:

2. Limber Up
Good stretching can give you hours of extra energy, but it is also important to do before sitting down in order to avoid stiffness or cramping while in the midst of a brawl with a zombie, by which I mean a study session.

3. No Attachments
You'll lose friends during finals. Better to not make them at all.

4. The Buddy System
In punitive contrast to Rule #4, you need a buddy. A partner in your guerrilla studying has got your back if you get overwhelmed or distracted. This rule only works if you keep in line with Rule #4 (otherwise, you may end up making a friend). To avoid wanting to have fun, don't even learn each others names. Refer to each other by major.

5. Double Tap
Just like zombies might not be dead on the first shot, you probably have not studied enough for an exam on the first go. One more shot will go a long way to ensuring your survival.

6. Don't Kill Bill Murray
This wasn't on Columbus' list, but definitely should have been. It Columbus' fatal flaw. Had he remembered this rule, things may have been easier for him. Don't kill Bill Murray and you should be able to survival finals.

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