The weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break have previously been described as torture for college students. After enjoying a food-filled weekend with family and friends, University of New Mexico students return to school to face final projects, papers and dreaded final exams.

But fellow students, don’t be discouraged, the end is in sight. Here are seven ways to prepare for finals and regain some energy to finish strong.

Make a list of everything due before winter break



This is where you should start if you haven’t already. Making a list of final projects and finals will help you prioritize your assignments. You can then start working on what is due first and what will take the most time to complete.

Plan out study times the night before

College life can be hectic, especially this time of year. Plans can change fast, so instead of planning out study times too far in advance, or not planning them out at all, doing it the night before means you will have a better grasp on tomorrow’s schedule. The crucial part of this tip is to stick to your planned study time. If you planned to go to the library tomorrow at 1 p.m., go to the library at 1 p.m.

Log off of social media

If your study time has the tendency to be 30 percent studying and 70 percent looking at your phone, you might want to either log out of your social media accounts or delete the apps altogether until you are finished with exams.

When it comes to self-discipline, sometimes we just don’t have the sheer willpower to resist the allure of checking social media feeds. Remove the temptation and you remove the problem.

Don’t sacrifice good nutrition

These last couple weeks are busy and sometimes it’s tempting to subsist only on snacks and fast food. Many of us have heard from a young age that you should eat “brain food” before an exam. Well, there is some truth to this.

The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute says since exams are like mental marathons, eating correctly and staying hydrated can help you endure the race. Foods such as whole grains and bananas for breakfast, lean proteins and vegetables for lunch, and proteins and carbohydrates for dinner will all prepare your body for the stress of finals.

If you exercise, keep up the routine

Even if you don’t regularly exercise, small amounts of it during a stressful time can improve your mood and also your memory. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that mild exercise improves memory functions. Mild exercise is the key here. An intense and long workout routine may tire you out rather than energize your body and memory. Save the shredding workout for winter break.

Study with a group

Only do this if you know it will be productive.

Studying in a group makes it easy to quiz each other and bounce ideas off someone else. Often, a study mate will think of solutions to problems or have ideas that you hadn’t considered, so engage in some teamwork to crush your exams.

Get enough sleep

When you think about the tips I’m throwing at you, they are all pretty obvious. We just need reminders from time to time. The brain needs rest in order to function well. The extra stress of finals makes rest even more crucial.

A good night’s sleep, while obviously important, is easier said than done. I guarantee though, that if you prepare for finals using the tips above, this one will follow naturally.

Remember to keep things in perspective. Finals week won’t last forever and as long as you take them seriously and prioritize your time these last couple of weeks, you’ll get through the pain and earn a well deserved break.

Tom Hanlon is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @TomHanlonNM.