Your finals aren’t scheduled until a couple weeks from now, and you’re feeling pretty confident about the material. You’re good to sit back, relax, and enjoy the last few days of peace and normal class time that you have. You still have plans and a social life, and finals are not on your radar.
Stage 2: Guilty Procrastination
You still have a week or so left before finals. That’s plenty of time to hit the books. No need to worry quite yet. It would be nice to have a head start, but it isn’t totally necessary. Maybe you’ll start studying tomorrow. Or maybe the day after that.
Stage 3: The Study Groups
The entire school has finally admitted that finals are right around the corner and only creeping closer. You’re panicking, but not ready to abandon your social life, so you call up a few friends and arrange a study group in the library. The success of these study sessions depends on how many of you are studying the same material and how many of you are actually studying instead of talking. Study sessions become significantly less populated and considerably more about learning the closer it gets to finals week.
Stage 4: Defeat
You’ve been studying your heart out, yet there’s no end in sight. Finals are closer than ever, and you still don’t feel prepared. There are still chapters to review, notes to read over, and classes you haven’t even started studying for yet. If your life was a movie, this would be your lowest of lows, but you know you can’t give up. You persevere because you have to. After a moment of meltdown, you vow to get your act together and study harder than ever before.
Stage 5: The All-Nighters
You don’t know what day it is, but it’s past twelve a.m., and you’re on your third Redbull. You’d go to sleep, but you have class in the morning, and there’s barely enough time left for a power nap before you have to get ready for the day. Might as well start making coffee. Better bring your textbooks into the kitchen with you, too.
Stage 6: Ten Minutes Before Class
You’ve never crammed harder in your life. This is the stage where you start to wonder if jotting down notes on your arm in permanent marker will get you in trouble (it will). Your eyes rake across your textbook so quickly in your attempts to absorb as much information as possible that you aren’t taking in a single word, and you have to reread your notes multiple times to understand them.
This stage is only helpful if you need to memorize small facts like dates or vocabulary definitions. Don’t bother trying to learn complex mathematical concepts or theoretical physics. If you don’t understand larger concepts essential to the material by now, it’s a lost cause.
Stage 7: Relief
For better or worse, finals are over. Your brain is fried and you don’t remember anything you’ve learned in any of your classes, but you’re ready to return your rental textbooks books and avoid everything academic for the entirety of your break between semesters. After bidding farewell to your friends and wishing them luck on their own finals, go home and take a nap. You’ve earned it.