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Finals week is the same everywhere–exhausting, long, and stressful. Given the academic demands at UNC, here’s how to not just survive, but thrive:

1. Go to every event you can:

Not only are events a good destresser, they’re also a good way to get free food (especially if you’re out of swipes or your refund is running low). That’s not even mentioning the FREE STUDY SPACE.

2. Hunt down your space and coordinate keeping it occupied:

Love studying on the first floor of Davis with your friends? Work out shifts with each other to keep the space occupied while others attend study sessions, take exams, or get food. That way everyone always has a place to come back to. (Don’t take my space, y’all!)

3. Try not to procrastinate those final assignments:

You know those professors who give assignments rather than an exam (or in addition to exams, for some poor souls)? Don’t leave them for last minute. You’ll be stressed out by other exams if you do that.

4. Write, or die:

Anyone who knows me knows about this already, but there’s a great productivity tool out there called Write or Die. It’s great if you have a hard time keeping yourself writing a paper. It’s free to use online and it has several options to keep you writing. Fair warning, if you are hardcore and use Kamikaze mode like I do, copy your text to your clipboard regularly (just select all the text and copy it).

5. Block distractions:

If you know you get distracted by Facebook, there are plenty of productivity apps for your computer and phone to block things that might distract you. Sometimes you need to sacrifice some tweets to get that 4.0. (in case you forgot to drink from the Old Well on FDOC).

6. Learn to speed read:

Yes, I know that sounds like a tall order to accomplish while also trying to remember eating and sleeping exist. Fear not! Here comes another one of my favorite productivity tools. Spreeder makes it super easy to paste text and read it no time. It’s easier than you think.

7. Late Night at Lenoir:

We have all gone to late night at Ram’s, but Late Night at Lenoir is a whole different thing. Piles of candy, food that is actually made for human consumption, a DJ, and sometimes even some mascots make an appearance! Lucky the Leprechaun from Lucky Charms came last semester, and that picture is definitely a point of pride for me (I am definitely a Lucky Charms addict). If you don’t have a meal plan or are out of swipes, ask around on Facebook or YikYak. There’s always a first year or two with extras.

8. Of course, watch the Streakers:

It sounds terrifying to watch some people run naked down Davis and through the Pit to the UL, but it’s a great time. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always just turn around when you start to hear the yelling. (Also, to you first years, it happens at midnight the night before the first exam.)

9. Meditate. Or nap:

If you haven’t discovered it already, UNC has a meditation room. You can also nap there. It’s in the basement of the Union. If you walk into Wendy’s and head straight, it’ll be in that giant study area in the back corner. Fair warning, it’s really cold in there, so bundle up.

10. Find your study noise:

If you have a hard time with auditory distractions, try to find the right noise to study to. Music doesn’t work for everyone, so try brown noise, pink noise, binaural beats, or space sounds. They’re all great at blocking out sound but still making it feel quiet. If you like music, build a playlist!

11. Plan:

Blocking out what you need to do and when (and when your exams are) is critical. It can be in a planner or just a piece of paper, but it is very helpful for when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed.


It’s no secret that finals week is heavily sleep depriving. With that said, set several alarms on your phone for your exams (even if they are in the middle of the day). Make sure your sound is on, and if it’s an early exam, make sure you don’t keep your phone close enough to snooze. Not to terrify you, but all those horror stories about missing exams are real.

13. Balance:

I know the culture on campus during finals is intense, but remember to still have some balance in your life. Exercise, sleep, relax with friends, go for a walk, do whatever! Self care is SO important, and self care is statistically proven to improve productivity! Don’t feel guilty for taking a break. Also, please eat!


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