Exam Survival Guide

The end of the year is always tough. Major papers, studying for exams, trying to pack up stuff and finalize summer plans – it’s hectic. After surviving the exam craziness one semester, and in honor of its commencement today, I offer you a guide to getting through the last week of the year.

1. The Coop Fountain

The Coop Fountain. Photo credit: Pomona College

The best place to hang out and study, and to get snacks! Depending on how well you cantune out external noise, it can be a comfy place to get work done, or a nice break spot. There’s usually pretty good music playing, and there’s always a friendly face around. I promise myself that when I finish a certain number of pages of my paper, I can get myself a milkshake. I tell you, it works!

2. SoCal Weather

This one is tricky. It requires balance to use the loveliness outside as a study aid or a study break, because while the quad can be very conducive to reading, it can also be very conducive to napping in the sun. I love working outside; it breaks up the monotony of working in my room. And nothing is better for that than the sunny weather of Southern California.

3. OTL Trips

Marston Quad
Marston Quad

This weekend, during reading days, I went on a trip to Joshua Tree (which was gorgeous). While it did put me a little behind, it was totally worth it, and left me recharged for a few days for hard-hitting the books. The trip leader planned another trip the next day to Laguna Beach, so even if rocks and desert trees aren’t your thing, there’s an escape for just about everyone.

4. Professors

One of the most important things to keep in mind, throughout the year but especially during finals! All of my professors are very available and most have extended office hours in the lead-up to and during exam week. Shoutout to my physics professor – I went to him, concerned about quiz grades, and he took the time to go over every problem in every one with me, which was extremely helpful in understanding the material and also understanding what I needed to study more. This is one of the most awesome things about Pomona: the professors really care about their students and do everything they can to help them succeed.

5. Twinkle Lights and Music

My personal favorite, maybe. I like to do homework listening to music – which sometimes devolves into five-minute dance breaks to keep my muscles from atrophying while sitting reading in the same position for hours – and the habit hasn’t stopped during the last week. It also keeps me chipper, something that I augment with the use of twinkly lights around my room. Late night study sessions are always more happy when your room is glowing.

6. Sleep

For basic survival, but also, there is nothing as satisfying as collapsing into bed after a hard day. Ask my roommate – she takes naps after most of her classes. I wish I could do that, but I content myself with sleeping in  (no classes during exam week!).

Spring bloomsI polled my friends, and other suggestions included long meals, time with friends, and froyo breaks in the Village – or a combination of the three. I think the key is to balance the work load and de-stressing (cue Pomona’s organized De-Stress with puppies to pet and free food!). Exams are do-able, with a little luck and a lot of work. Some students have an even more positive spin on the last week: read Bryan’s post about why he was actually (kind of) looking forward to finals week.

In five days, after two tests and two papers, I’ll be done with my first year of college, and that’s a crazy thought! See you on the other side…